Tumor Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 8, pp 5953–5964 | Cite as

A link between cold environment and cancer

  • Ankit Sharma
  • Harphool Kumar Verma
  • Savitri Joshi
  • Mahaveer Singh Panwar
  • Chandi C. Mandal
Research Article


Many risk factors such as smoking and change of life style have been shown to promote genetic and adaptive epigenetic changes responsible for tumorigenesis. This study brings environmental temperature as a cancer causing factor to light. The cancer mortality rate (CMR) of a country was correlated with 17 different variables. Multivariate analysis of a total of 188 countries found that the average annual temperature (AAT) of a country might have a significant contribution to cancer death when compared with other factors such as alcohol and meat consumption. Univariate analysis found a negative correlation between AAT and CMR. All these countries were categorized into three temperature zones (zone I, −2 to 11.5 °C; number of countries, 38; zone II, 11.6 to 18.6 °C; number of countries, 32; and zone III, 18.7 to 30 °C; number of countries, 118). Out of the top-most 50 countries having the highest CMR, 26 (68.42 %), 10 (31.25 %), and 14 (11.66 %) belong to zone I, zone II, and zone III, respectively. Out of the least 50 countries having the lowest CMR, 1 (2.63 %), 4 (12.5 %), and 45 (37.5 %) belong to zone I, zone II, and zone III, respectively. CMR is low in those countries situated near to the Torrid zone (33° N to 23.5°S), but it is high for those countries situated away from these two latitudes. These data indicate that cold temperature may have a contribution in increasing tumorigenesis. High metabolic stress, which is the result of maintaining our body temperature against a cold environment, could be the possible cause for the higher cancer mortality.


Cancer mortality Body temperature Environmental temperature Metabolic stress Temperate zone Tumorigenesis 



We thank Prof. James Radosevich, Center for Molecular Biology of Oral Diseases, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA for his valuable comments and suggestions, and Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, Department of Mathematics, Central University of Rajasthan, India, for his help in analyzing data.

Conflicts of interest

All authors have declared no conflict of interest on this study.

Funding support

CCM is supported by UGC Start-UP-Grant [30-49/2014 (BSR)] and Central University of Rajasthan, India, and AS is supported by fellowship provided by Central University of Rajasthan, India.

Supplementary material

13277_2015_3270_MOESM1_ESM.doc (38 kb)
Supplementary Table S1 (DOC 38 kb)
13277_2015_3270_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (448 kb)
Supplementary Table S2 (PDF 448 kb)
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Supplementary Table S3 (PDF 349 kb)
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Supplementary Table S4 (PDF 232 kb)
13277_2015_3270_MOESM5_ESM.doc (39 kb)
Supplementary Table S5 (DOC 39 kb)
13277_2015_3270_MOESM6_ESM.pdf (244 kb)
Supplementary Table S6 (PDF 243 kb)
13277_2015_3270_MOESM7_ESM.pdf (280 kb)
Supplementary Table S7 (PDF 279 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ankit Sharma
    • 1
  • Harphool Kumar Verma
    • 1
  • Savitri Joshi
    • 2
  • Mahaveer Singh Panwar
    • 2
  • Chandi C. Mandal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryCentral University of RajasthanAjmerIndia
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsCentral University of RajasthanRajasthanIndia

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