Family Study of Head and Neck Cancers in Taiwan
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a rare tumor among Caucasians that occurs with high incidence
among individuals of Chinese descent. The disease is believed to have a multifactorial
etiology with genetic, viral, and other environmental factors being involved. Little is
known, however, about the genetic component of this disease.
We previously completed a case-control study of NPC in Taiwan. Using information obtained
from the NPC cases recruited into this NCI-sponsored case-control study and parallel
sources, we have been able to identify 250 families with multiple family members affected
The purpose of the study described herein is to determine the role of inherited genetic
factors in the etiology of NPC and to examine the effect of these genetic susceptibility
factors on risk associated with environmental exposures.
Families will initially be contacted via an affected proband. Subsequently, informative
family members will be asked to visit the study clinic to participate in the study. A
family history questionnaire will be administered to the proband and other affected family
members from each of the families selected for study. In addition, a risk factor
questionnaire will be administered to all participating family members, and 30-40 ml of
blood and an oral sample will be obtained from each study participant. Additional study
components include medical record review to verify the diagnosis of NPC, retrieval of tumor
tissue blocks as a source of DNA for study, and clinical exams on a sample of unaffected
individuals to exclude the possibility of prevalent, undetected disease among family
Oral and laryngeal cancer families will also be recruited in a manner similar to that
described for NPC families, in an attempt to elucidate genetic factors linked to the
development of these two cancers.
Allan Hildesheim, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
United States: Federal Government