Lloyd Morgan's Column
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Commentary on the Final Report of the RMIT Cancer Cases
This report is a cover-up of the first order. I will restrict my commentary
to the cases of brain tumor on Levels 16 and 17.
There were 4 brain tumors reported in a population of 114 staff members in an
11 year period. These tumors were:
- One glioblastoma multiforme
- Two meningiomas
- One haemangioblastoma
- One pituitary adenoma
The report remarks that since there was only a single malignant tumour, "the
presence of a single case only of a primary malignant brain tumour within the
population on these floor levels does not enable an accurate epidemiological
analysis." This statement was made in the context that no "benign" brain tumour
data is collected in Victoria. The report also states that a pituitary tumour is
not a brain tumour stating that the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies
such a tumour as "an endocrine tumour and not a brain tumour."
There was neither an attempt to examine the incidence rate of "benign" brain
tumour beyond Victoria nor was their statement correct about WHO's classification
of pituitary tumours. Pituitary tumors are
classified by WHO and here in the United States as a brain tumour.
Let's examine the facts for each of these brain tumours using data
published by the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (www.cbtrus.org).
- The age adjusted rate of glioblastoma is 3.05 per 100,000 people per year
- The age adjusted rate of meningioma is 4.53 per 100,000 people per year
- The age adjusted rate of haemangioblastoma is 0.9 per 100,000 per year
- The age adjusted rate of pituitary adenoma is 0.92 per 100,000 per year
There were 114 staff members over a period of 11 years. Thus the person-years
of this cohort are 1,254. Using the above incidence rates the number of each
tumor type that would be expected is:
- Expected glioblastomas are 0.038. The observed/expected ratio is 26.
- Expected meningiomas are 0.11. The observed/expected ratio is 8.8
- Expected haemangioblastomas are 0.011. The observed/expected ratio is 89.
- Expected pituitary adenomas are 0.012. The observed/expected ratio is 87.
This report is a cover up of the first order.
 The pituitary gland is located inside the cranium at the base of
the brain. Meningiomas are classified as brain tumours in Victoria. These are
tumours of the meninges, the lining of the brain and the spinal cord. Pituitary
tumours are beneath the meninges.