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Ann Epidemiol. 2016 Feb;26(2):141-145. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2015.11.007. Epub 2015 Dec 12.

Birth weight, fetal growth, and risk of pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma: an updated record linkage study in California.

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Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. Electronic address:
Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.
Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco.



The purpose of the study was to examine whether birth characteristics affect the risk of rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) in children and adolescents younger than 19 years.


A total of 722 RMS cases diagnosed at the age of 0-19 years during 1988-2011 were identified from the California Cancer Registry and matched by birth date, sex, and race to 2,888 controls using California birth records. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate the risk of RMS associated with birth weight, gestational age, and size for gestational age.


High birth weight (odds ratio [OR]: 1.00; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.78-1.29) and large for gestational age (LGA; OR: 0.94, 95% CI: 0.72-1.23) were not associated with RMS risk overall. Among non-Hispanic whites, the ORs were 1.33 for high birth weight (95% CI: 0.94-1.89) and 1.17 for LGA (95% CI: 0.78-1.75); no indications of association were observed for other racial or ethnic groups (P interaction <.10). Compared with normal gestational age, preterm (<37 weeks) and post-term (>40 weeks) babies had 16%-18% lower risks of RMS overall, after adjusting for birth weight.


In the largest study to date, there was an indication of association between high birth weight, LGA, and increased RMS risk among non-Hispanic white children and adolescents, but not in other racial or ethnic groups.


Birth weight; Fetal growth; Pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma

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