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Cancer Causes Control. 1995 May;6(3):187-98.

An exploratory analysis of risk factors for childhood malignant germ-cell tumors: report from the Childrens Cancer Group (Canada, United States).

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Medical School, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA.


A study of 105 patients with childhood malignant germ-cell tumors (MGCT) and 639 community controls was conducted utilizing a large epidemiologic database collected by the Childrens Cancer Group from 25 member institutions in the United States and Canada. This study was designed to explore the risk factors of this malignancy whose etiology remains poorly understood. A structured, self-administered questionnaire was used to collect exposure information, and data were analyzed using an unconditional logistic regression model with adjustment for relevant confounders. Consistent with the findings from studies of adult MGCT, gestational age was associated inversely with risk of MGCT, with a 70 to 75 percent reduction in risk for children born at term compared with those born pre-term. Parental, particularly maternal, self-reported exposure to chemicals or solvents (odds ratio [OR] = 4.6, 95 percent confidence interval [CI] = 1.9-11.3) and OR = 2.2, CI = 1.1-4.7 for maternal and paternal exposure, respectively) and plastic or resin fumes (OR = 12.0, CI = 1.9-75.0 [maternal] and OR = 2.5, CI = 1.0-6.5 [paternal]) were associated with elevated risk of MGCT. New findings, not reported previously, include a positive relationship of MGCT risk with birthweight and prolonged breastfeeding, an inverse association between MGCT risk and number of cigarettes smoked by the mother during pregnancy, and a 3.1-fold increased risk (CI = 1.5-6.6) associated with maternal urinary infections during index pregnancy. Although these findings need confirmation from future studies, they suggest a potential influence of in utero exposure to maternal endogenous hormones, parental environmental exposures, and maternal diseases during pregnancy in the development of childhood MGCT.

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