Date: 01 Feb 2006

Geographical Clustering of Pancreatic Cancers in the Northeast Nile Delta Region of Egypt

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The northeast Nile Delta, Egypt’s most polluted region, appears to have a high incidence of pancreatic cancer. We sought to determine whether there is any geographic clustering of pancreatic cancers there and, if so, whether such clustering might be associated with environmental pollution. Using data from the medical records of the Gastrointestinal Surgical Center of Mansoura University in the Dakahleia Province of Egypt and detailed geographical maps of the northeast Nile Delta region, we plotted the residences of all 373 patients who had pancreatic cancer diagnosed between 1995 and 2000. The study region has 15 administrative districts, whose centroid coordinates, population, and number of pancreatic cancer patients were determined for this study. Monte Carlo simulation identified statistically significant clustering of pancreatic cancer in five subdivisions located near the Nile River and Delta plains. This clustering was independent of population size and formed two larger clusters. When data were analyzed by sex, clustering of pancreatic cancer was observed in the same five subdivisions for men but only two subdivisions showed clustering for women. Together, our data suggest that there is clustering of pancreatic cancer cases in the northeast Nile delta region and that this clustering may be related to water pollution. Our data also warrant future studies of the association between water pollution and pancreatic cancer in the region.