Family history of cancer provided by hospital controls was satisfactorily reliable

Francesca Bravi, Cristina Bosetti, Eva Negri, Pagona Lagiou, Carlo La Vecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Our aim was to investigate the reliability of the information on family history of cancer in first-degree relatives in a hospital-based case-control study. Study Design and Setting: We re-interviewed at home 294 controls of an Italian hospital-based case-control study on digestive tract neoplasms using the same questionnaire and compared the responses reported by these patients in the two settings. Results: A satisfactory agreement between the two interviews was reported for family history of any cancer (kappa = 0.7) and of cancers of the digestive tract (kappa = 0.8). The agreement was apparently higher for esophageal and stomach cancers (kappa > 0.8) than for intestinal cancers (kappa = 0.6) and lower for lung cancer (kappa = 0.5). We found a systematic tendency to report a history of cancer more frequently in the hospital setting than in the home setting. Conclusion: The present study showed a good reliability of data on family history of all cancers, including cancers of the digestive tract, provided by hospital controls through a structured interview-administered questionnaire. It suggests, moreover, that controls in the hospital setting tend to recall more often, and presumably more completely, a family history of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-175
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


  • Cancer
  • Case-control studies
  • Family history
  • Interviews
  • Reproducibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology


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