Low tobacco-related cancer incidence in offspring of long-lived siblings: A comparison with Danish national cancer registry data

Jacob K. Pedersen, Axel Skytthe, Matt McGue, Lawrence S. Honig, Claudio Franceschi, Thomas B.L. Kirkwood, Giuseppe Passarino, P. Eline Slagboom, James W. Vaupel, Kaare Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Familial clustering of longevity is well documented and includes both genetic and other familial factors, but the specific underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. We examined whether low incidence of specific cancers is a mechanism for familial clustering of longevity. Methods: The study population of individuals from longevity-enriched families consisted of 3267 offspring from 610 Danish long-lived families defined by two siblings attaining an age of 90 years or more. The offspring of the long-lived siblings were followed from 1968 to 2009. Using high-quality registry data, observed numbers of cancers were compared with expected numbers based on gender-, calendar period-, and age-specific incidence rates in the general population. Results: During the 41-year-follow-up period, a total of 423 cancers occurred in 397 individuals.Thestandardized incidence ratios (95% confidence interval) for offspring of long-lived individualswere 0.78 (0.70-0.86) for overall cancer; 0.66 (0.56-0.77) for tobacco-related cancer; 0.34 (0.22-0.51) for lung cancer; 0.88 (0.71-1.10) for breast cancer; 0.91 (0.62-1.34) for colon cancer. Conclusions: The low incidence of tobacco-related cancers in long-lived families compared with non-tobacco-related cancers suggests that health behavior plays a central role in lower early cancer incidence in offspring of long-lived siblings in Denmark.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-574.e3
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation/The Danish Council for Independent Research (grant number 11-107308 ) and by the National Institute on Aging (grant number P01 AG08761 ). The LLFS study is funded by the U.S. National Institute on Aging , National Institutes of Health (NIA/NIH cooperative agreements U01AG023712 , U01AG23744 , U01AG023746 , U01AG023749 , U01AG023755 ). The work is based on the EU GEHA (Genetics of Healthy Aging) Project (contract number LSHM-CT-2004-503-270) and the Odense University Hospital AgeCare program (Academy of Geriatric Cancer Research). The Danish Aging Research Center is supported by a grant from the VELUX Foundation (grant number: Velux 31205) .


  • Cancer
  • Cohort study
  • Familial clustering
  • Lifestyle and aging
  • Longevity

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