Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the risk of cancers and selected immune related diseases in people with Down's syndrome, relative to risk in other people. DESIGN: Cohort analysis of a linked dataset of abstracts of hospital and death records; results expressed as the ratios of rates of disease in people with and without Down's syndrome. SETTING: The former Oxford health region, England, 1963-1999. SUBJECTS: Cohort of 1453 people with Down's syndrome and cohort of 460,000 people with other conditions for comparison. MAIN OUTCOMES: As expected, the rate ratio for leukaemia was substantially elevated in people with Down's syndrome: it was 19-fold higher (95% confidence intervals 10.4 to 31.5) than the rate in the comparison cohort. For other cancers combined, excluding leukaemia, the rate ratio was not significantly elevated (1.2; 0.6 to 2.2). The risk of testicular cancer was increased (12.0; 2.5 to 35.6), although this was based on only three cases in the cohort of subjects with Down's syndrome. Significantly elevated risks were found for coeliac disease (4.7; 1.3 to 12.2), acquired hypothyroidism (9.4; 3.4, 20.5), other thyroid disorders, and type 1 diabetes mellitus (2.8; 1.0 to 6.1). A decreased risk was found for asthma (0.4; 0.2 to 0.6). CONCLUSIONS: Our data add to the body of information on the risks of co-morbidity in people with Down's syndrome. The finding on asthma needs to be confirmed or refuted by other studies.

Original publication




Journal article


Arch Dis Child

Publication Date





1014 - 1017


Adolescent, Adult, Age Distribution, Autoimmune Diseases, Celiac Disease, Child, Child, Preschool, Cohort Studies, Comorbidity, Diabetes Mellitus, Down Syndrome, England, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Leukemia, Medical Record Linkage, Middle Aged, Neoplasms, Thyroid Diseases