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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1985 Apr;74(4):789-92.

Neuroblastoma: case-control analysis of birth characteristics.


The peak incidence of neuroblastoma during early infancy indicates that prenatal factors may play a role in the pathogenesis of this disease. A population-based case-control study was conducted comparing birth certificate data of 157 children who later died from neuroblastoma in Texas with 314 controls randomly selected from all Texas live births. Analysis of birth certificate data revealed a protective relative risk estimate for preterm births (less than 37-wk gestation), with an overall odds ratio of 0.29 (95% confidence limits of 0.10-0.86). This effect was independent of birth weight and ethnic group. A statistically significant odds ratio of 3.22 was detected for term babies whose birth weight was low. The findings suggest that the fetus is susceptible to an in utero oncogenic initiator or promoter during the last 4 weeks of gestation.

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