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Cross-Cancer Relationships and Risk Factors of Hematologic Malignancies - a Twin Study

The incidence of hematologic malignancies in the Nordic countries has increased steadily since the 1960’s and the risk factors of these cancers remain somewhat unresolved. Using the world’s largest twin-cancer database, NorTwinCan, we use the most accurate up to date available diagnoses to describe patterns of cross-cancer relationships of the major hematologic malignancies.

We explore the relative genetic and environmental influences of these relationships over time and estimate familial risks based on cross-cancer relationships and age at onset considering time of diagnosis and competing risks of death. We also seek to identify epigenetic markers of hematologic malignancies using epigenetic data from Danish twins.

Tattoo ink related cancer

One exposure, that has been suggested to influence cancer, is tattoo ink. Ink contains possible carcinogens and has been identified in the human lymphatic system and in the bloodstream: It is generally an open question whether such xenobiotics are harmful to the human organism.

We aim to initiate a case co-twin study of risk of possibly ink-related cancers, including hematologic malignancies. We conjecture that such study, using the cohort of Danish twin cancer data along with tattoo exposure data and controlling for known cancer risk factors, will provide important insights as to the safety of having tattoos

The aims of the project are

  1. To characterize hematologic malignancies in terms of genetic, environmental, and cross-cancer risk relationships varying in time using the population based Nordic twin cohort.
  2. To identify possible epigenetic markers of hematologic malignancies in a matched case co-twin study using epigenetic data from Danish twins.
  3. To initiate a matched case co-twin study of risk of “ink-related cancers” using questionnaire exposure data.


  • Nordic Cancer Union
  • Faculty Funding

Main supervisor

  • Professor Jacob v. B. Hjelmborg, University of Southern Denmark


  • Professor Henrik Frederiksen, Department of Clinical Research, SDU
  • Associate Professor Jonas Mengel-From, EBB/SDU
PhD Student

Signed Bedsted Clemmensen


EBB - Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Biodemography Department of Public Health University of Southern Denmark

  • Campusvej 55
  • Odense M - DK-5230
  • Phone: +45 6550 3029

Last Updated 20.10.2023