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Am J Epidemiol. 2017 Oct 1;186(7):843-856. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwx160.

Parental Age and Risk of Pediatric Cancer in the Offspring: A Population-Based Record-Linkage Study in California.


Linking birth records and cancer registry data from California, we conducted a population-based study with 23,419 cases and 87,593 matched controls born during 1978-2009 to investigate the relationship of parental age to risk of pediatric cancer. Compared with children born to mothers aged 20-24 years, those born to mothers in older age groups had a 13%-36% higher risk of pediatric cancer; the odds ratio for each 5-year increase in maternal age was 1.06 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04, 1.09). For cancer diagnosed in children in age groups 0-14 years and 15-19 years, the odds ratios for each 5-year increase in maternal age were 1.05 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.07) and 1.14 (95% CI: 1.09, 1.19), respectively. Having an older father also conferred an increased risk, with an odds ratio for each 5-year increase of 1.03 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.05) for cancer diagnosed at ages 0-19 years and 1.03 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.05) for cancer diagnosed at ages 0-14 years. While advancing maternal age increased risk of leukemia and central nervous system tumors, older paternal age was not associated with risk of either type. Both maternal and paternal older ages were associated with risk of lymphoma. In this large, population-based record-linkage study, advancing parental age, especially advancing maternal age, was associated with higher pediatric cancer risk, with variations across types of cancer.


adolescent; case-control study; children; parental age; pediatric cancer

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