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.

BACKGROUND: There is substantial variation in nervous system and intracranial tumour incidence worldwide. UK incidence data have limited utility because they group these diverse tumours together and do not provide data for individual ethnic groups within Blacks and South Asians. Our objective was to determine the incidence of individual tumour types for seven individual ethnic groups. METHODS: We used data from the National Cancer Intelligence Network on tumour site, age, sex and deprivation to identify 42,207 tumour cases. Self-reported ethnicity was obtained from the Hospital Episode Statistics database. We used mid-year population estimates from the Office for National Statistics. We analysed tumours by site using Poisson regression to estimate incidence rate ratios comparing non-White ethnicities to Whites after adjustment for sex, age and deprivation. RESULTS: Our study showed differences in tumour incidence by ethnicity for gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary tumours and cranial and paraspinal nerve tumours. Relative to Whites; South Asians, Blacks and Chinese have a lower incidence of gliomas (p<0.01), with respective incidence rate ratios of 0.68 (confidence interval: 0.60-0.77), 0.62 (0.52-0.73) and 0.58 (0.41-0.83). Blacks have a higher incidence of meningioma (p<0.01) with an incidence rate ratio of 1.29 (1.05-1.59) and there is heterogeneity in meningioma incidence between individual South Asian ethnicities. Blacks have a higher incidence of pituitary tumours relative to Whites (p<0.01) with an incidence rate ratio of 2.95 (2.37-3.67). There is heterogeneity in pituitary tumour incidence between individual South Asian ethnicities. CONCLUSIONS: We present incidence data of individual tumour types for seven ethnic groups. Current understanding of the aetiology of these tumours cannot explain our results. These findings suggest avenues for further work.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





African Continental Ancestry Group, Age Distribution, Asian Continental Ancestry Group, Brain Neoplasms, England, Epidemiologic Studies, Ethnic Groups, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Humans, Incidence, Male, Nervous System