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Duration of gestation and prostate cancer risk in offspring.

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Department of Medical Epidemiology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


This large population-based nested case-control study investigated the importance of perinatal characteristics as risk factors for prostate cancer in later life in a cohort of men who were born between 1889 and 1941 in Stockholm, Sweden. Eight hundred and thirty-four prostate cancer cases over 18 years of age and of singleton birth were identified from the cohort between 1958 and 1994. For each case, singleton males born live to the first four mothers admitted after the case's mother were selected as potential controls; 1880 eligible controls were included in the study. For each study subject, we obtained data on mother's parity, pre-eclampsia or eclampsia before delivery, age at delivery, and socioeconomic status, as well as child's birth length and weight, placental weight, and gestational age. Odds ratio (OR) estimates and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were derived from logistic regression analyses. We found no statistically significant differences between cases and controls with respect to maternal age, socioeconomic status, or parity. Birth weight, birth length, and placental weight were also not significantly related to prostate cancer risk. Pregnancy toxemia (OR = 0.33; 95% CI, 0.07-1.45) and longer gestation age were associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer; the OR estimate was 0.94 (95% CI, 0.89-0.99) for each 1-week prolongation of the duration of gestation. Our results suggest that birth size indicators are not important risk factors for prostate cancer in later life. In addition, our data on gestation age indicate that the late in utero environment may be as important as the early in utero environment in the modulation of prostate cancer risk in offspring.

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