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Cancer risk among children conceived by fertility treatment.

Wang T, et al. Int J Cancer. 2018.


Prior studies on the association between fertility treatment and childhood cancer risk have generated inconsistent results. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of observation studies to summarize the evidence regarding the relation of fertility treatment with childhood cancer risk. A systematic literature search of several databases was conducted through April 2018 to identify relevant studies. The outcomes of interest included overall cancer, haematological malignancies, neural tumours, other solid tumours, and eight specific cancers. The overall risk estimates and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis. Sixteen cohort and thirteen case-control studies were included. Results showed that children conceived by fertility treatment had significantly higher risk for developing overall cancer (relative risk [RR]: 1.16, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.32), haematological malignancies (RR: 1.39, 95% CI: 1.21, 1.60) and other solid tumours (RR: 1.57, 95% CI: 1.14, 2.16). For specific cancers, fertility treatment was associated with a significantly increased risk of leukaemia (RR: 1.31, 95% CI: 1.09, 1.57) and hepatic tumours (RR: 2.26, 95% CI: 1.32, 3.85). Sensitivity analysis validated evidence of the robustness of the findings. The results may demonstrate a possible association between fertility treatment and an increased risk of cancer among the offspring. However, the findings cannot say whether this increased risk is due to the subfertility itself or to the fertility treatment. Further research is needed to address the underlying mechanisms.

© 2018 The Authors. International Journal of Cancer published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of UICC.


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