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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 18;8(11):e79110. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079110. eCollection 2013.

Parental smoking and risk of childhood brain tumors by functional polymorphisms in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolism genes.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, United States of America.



A recent meta-analysis suggested an association between exposure to paternal smoking during pregnancy and childhood brain tumor risk, but no studies have evaluated whether this association differs by polymorphisms in genes that metabolize tobacco-smoke chemicals.


We assessed 9 functional polymorphisms in 6 genes that affect the metabolism of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) to evaluate potential interactions with parental smoking during pregnancy in a population-based case-control study of childhood brain tumors. Cases (N = 202) were ≤10 years old, diagnosed from 1984-1991 and identified in three Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries in the western U.S. Controls in the same regions (N = 286) were frequency matched by age, sex, and study center. DNA for genotyping was obtained from archived newborn dried blood spots.


We found positive interaction odds ratios (ORs) for both maternal and paternal smoking during pregnancy, EPHX1 H139R, and childhood brain tumors (P(interaction) = 0.02; 0.10), such that children with the high-risk (greater PAH activation) genotype were at a higher risk of brain tumors relative to children with the low-risk genotype when exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy. A dose-response pattern for paternal smoking was observed among children with the EPHX1 H139R high-risk genotype only (OR(no exposure) = 1.0; OR(≤3 hours/day) = 1.32, 95% CI: 0.52-3.34; OR(>3 hours/day )= 3.18, 95% CI: 0.92-11.0; P(trend )= 0.07).


Parental smoking during pregnancy may be a risk factor for childhood brain tumors among genetically susceptible children who more rapidly activate PAH in tobacco smoke.

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