Childhood leukaemia near British nuclear installations: methodological issues and recent results.
Bithell JF., Keegan TJ., Kroll ME., Murphy MF., Vincent TJ.
In 2008, the German Childhood Cancer Registry published the results of the Kinderkrebs in der Umgebung von Kernkraftwerken (KiKK) study of childhood cancer and leukaemia around German nuclear power stations. The positive findings appeared to conflict with the results of a recent British analysis carried out by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE), published in 2005. The present paper first describes the COMARE study, which was based on data from the National Registry of Children's Tumours (NRCT); in particular, the methodology used in this study is described. Although the results of the COMARE study were negative for childhood leukaemia, this apparent discrepancy could be accounted for by a number of differences in approach, especially those relating to the distances from the power stations and the ages of the children studied. The present study was designed to match the KiKK study as far as possible. The incidence observed (18 cases within 5 km against 14.58 expected, p = 0.21) was not significantly raised. The risk estimate for proximity in the regression fitted was actually negative, though the confidence intervals involved are so wide that the difference from that reported in the KiKK study is only marginally statistically significant (p = 0.063).