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Ann Epidemiol. 2009 Mar;19(3):148-60. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2008.12.011.

An international case-control study of maternal diet during pregnancy and childhood brain tumor risk: a histology-specific analysis by food group.

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USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



Maternal dietary data from an international collaborative case-control study on childhood brain tumors were used to evaluate associations between histology-specific risk and consumption of specific food groups during pregnancy.


Nine study centers from seven countries contributed 1218 cases and 2223 controls. Most cases were diagnosed between 1982 and 1992 and ranged in age from 0 to 19 years. Dietary consumption was measured as average grams per day.


Foods generally associated with increased risk were cured meats, eggs/dairy, and oil products; foods generally associated with decreased risk were yellow-orange vegetables, fresh fish, and grains. The cured meat association was specific to astrocytomas (odds ratio [OR] range=1.8-2.5 across astrocytoma subtypes for 4th vs. 1st quartile of consumption, p trends <or= 0.03) and ependymomas (OR, 2.0; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.4-2.9 for 4th vs. 1(st) quartile; p trend=0.03) and was similar in magnitude to previously reported ORs relating maternal cured meat consumption to increased astroglial risk. Other histology-specific associations were decreased risk of anaplastic astrocytomas from cruciferous vegetables (OR, 0.4; 95% CI, 0.3-0.7 for 4th vs. 1st quartile; p trend<0.0001), decreased risk of astroglial tumors from fresh fish (OR, 0.6; 95% CI, 0.5-0.9 for 4th vs. 1st quartile; p trend=0.008), and increased risk of medulloblastoma from oil products (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0-2.2 for 4th vs. 1(st) quartile; p trend=0.005).


These results suggest the need for dietary analysis not only by brain tumor histology, but also by specific foods within a broad food group.

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