Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 139–142 | Cite as

BCG vaccination and cancer mortality

  • R. G. Crispen
  • S. R. Rosenthal
Original Articles


The mortality rate from leukemia and other neoplastic diseases for the years 1957–1969 was compared in 85,356 BCG-vaccinated newborns at Cook County Hospital, Chicago, and 534,870 nonvaccinated population in Chicago (all black). All cases of cancer deaths under 20 years of age in the black population of Chicago were obtained from death certificates at the Chicago Board of Health. The total black population 20 years of age and under was determined by demographic means from the Chicago Board of Health birth records, adjusted for deaths under the period of study. There were 13 deaths among the vaccinated for a rate of 1.17/100,000/year and 306 deaths among the nonvaccinated for a rate of 4.39/100,000/year. The difference was statistically highly significant (p<0.001). This was a reduction of 74% in the vaccinated group as compared to the nonvaccinated. There were no deaths from malignancies in the under 1 year of age group in the vaccinated, but a drop in the rates to 50% or less in the later age groups (except 10–14 years) in the vaccinated as compared to the nonvaccinated. Thus revaccination at given intervals (1–2 years) is recommended. The National Cancer Institute checked death reports due to cancer elsewhere in the country in our vaccinated population. To reduce the possibility of β error, deaths due to trauma in the two groups were determined. No differences in the rates were found. The major categories of neoplasms for this age group were (1) leukemia, (2) central nervous system, (3) lymphoma, and (4) bone and connective tissue. This was a retrospective study. Statistically designed, controlled studies may provide definite conclusions.


Central Nervous System Lymphoma Leukemia Connective Tissue National Cancer Institute 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. G. Crispen
    • 1
  • S. R. Rosenthal
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Illinois and Research Foundation ChicagoChicagoU.S.A.

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