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Classic Kaposi's sarcoma in Jews living in Israel, 1961–1989: a population-based incidence study

Iscovich, José1,4; Boffetta, Paolo2; Winkelmann, Regina2; Brennan, Paul2; Azizi, Esther3

Epidemiology and Social: Original papers

Background: The incidence of classic Kaposi's sarcoma (CKS) has been reported to be high in Jewish populations, mostly born in Eastern Europe.

Objective: To describe the incidence on CKS in Israeli Jews and to determine differences in incidence according to their geography origin.

Design: We analysed data on 1098 incident CKS cases with known country of origin occurring between 1961 and 1989 in the Jewish Israeli population. Reporting systems were the Israel Cancer Registry, the medical documentation of all-Kaposi's sarcoma cases and the registry of HIV-seropositive patients. Patients who were seropositive for HIV were excluded from the study population. Population figures for groups of migrants and natives were derived from census surveys (1961, 1972, 1983) and inter-census estimates based on the population registry.

Results: The overall age-standardized rate of CKS was 16.9 per million in men and 6.3 per million in women. The ratio between genders remained stable during the study period. In both genders, there was a steep increase in CKS incidence between the late 1960s (age-standardized rates per million: 8.0 in men and 2.2 in women) and the early 1970s (17.9 in men and 6.7 in women). No further increase was present after 1971. Overall, immigrants experienced a relative risk (RR) of 1.17 [95% confidence interval (Cl) 0.90–1.52] compared with Jews born in Israel. Immigrants from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia had the highest incidence (RR 2.01; 95% Cl 1.52–2.65) compared with Jews born in Israel, followed by those born in Iraq (RR 1.74; Cl 95% 1.27–2.37). The lowest incidence was experienced by immigrants from Iran (RR 0.37; Cl 95% 0.18–0.77) and from Central European countries (RR 0.45; Cl 95% 0.30–0.66). Immigrants from other countries in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe had similar rates as Jews born in Israel.

Conclusions: Israeli Jews present one of the highest incidences of CKS reported from developed countries. The incidence varies according to geographical origin. Countries surrounding the Mediterranean sea represent the area of highest CKS incidence.

1Israel Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health, 107 Hebron Rd, 93548 Jerusalem, Israel

2Unit of Environmental Cancer Epidemiology, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France

3Department of Dermatology, Chaim Shiba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel.

4Requests for reprints to: Dr José Iscovich, International Fertility Institute, 142/4 Achuza St., Ra'anana 43300, Israel.

Sponsorship: Dr Iscovich was partially supported by a UICC/ICRETT fellowship. This study was supported in part by a BIOMED-2 contract of the European Commission, DG-XII (Contract No. BMH1-CT93-1134).

Date of receipt: 11 March 1998; revised: 11 July 1998; accepted: 22 July 1998.

© 1998 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.