The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
MDU, AA and TG have developed the spatio-temporal statistical model and performed the model programming and fitting. They have also contributed to the writing of all the sections in this paper. Casado has made of all the linear interpolations to compute populations. IC, EA and NL have contributed to the design of the study, to interpret results and to the discussion and conclusions. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Brain cancer incidence rates in Spain are below the European’s average. However, there are two regions in the north of the country, Navarre and the Basque Country, ranked among the European regions with the highest incidence rates for both males and females. Our objective here was two-fold. Firstly, to describe the temporal evolution of the geographical pattern of brain cancer incidence in Navarre and the Basque Country, and secondly, to look for specific high risk areas (municipalities) within these two regions in the study period (1986–2008).
A mixed Poisson model with two levels of spatial effects is used. The model also included two levels of spatial effects (municipalities and local health areas). Model fitting was carried out using penalized quasi-likelihood. High risk regions were detected using upper one-sided confidence intervals.
Results revealed a group of high risk areas surrounding Pamplona, the capital city of Navarre, and a few municipalities with significant high risks in the northern part of the region, specifically in the border between Navarre and the Basque Country (Gipuzkoa). The global temporal trend was found to be increasing. Differences were also observed among specific risk evolutions in certain municipalities.
Brain cancer incidence in Navarre and the Basque Country (Spain) is still increasing with time. The number of high risk areas within those two regions is also increasing. Our study highlights the need of continuous surveillance of this cancer in the areas of high risk. However, due to the low percentage of cases explained by the known risk factors, primary prevention should be applied as a general recommendation in these populations.