Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 23, Issue 9, pp 1463–1473

Brain tumors in children and adolescents and exposure to animals and farm life: a multicenter case–control study (CEFALO)

  • Jeppe Schultz Christensen
  • Laust Hvas Mortensen
  • Martin Röösli
  • Maria Feychting
  • Tore Tynes
  • Tina Veje Andersen
  • Lisbeth Samsø Schmidt
  • Aslak Harbo Poulsen
  • Denis Aydin
  • Claudia E. Kuehni
  • Michaela Prochazka
  • Birgitta Lannering
  • Lars Klaeboe
  • Tone Eggen
  • Joachim Schüz
Original paper

Abstract

Objectives

The etiology of brain tumors in children and adolescents is largely unknown, and very few environmental risk factors have been identified. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between pre- or postnatal animal contacts or farm exposures and the risk of childhood brain tumors (CBTs), since infectious agents may pose a risk factor and a proposed mechanism is transferral of infectious agents from animals to humans.

Methods

The case–control study conducted in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland included brain tumor cases diagnosed from 2004 to 2008 aged 7–19 years at diagnosis. Three hundred and fifty-two cases (83 % participation rate) were matched to 646 population-based controls (71 % participation rate). Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios.

Results

Maternal farm residence during pregnancy was inversely related to all CBTs combined (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.40, 95 % confidence interval (CI) = 0.19–0.88), as was the child’s farm residence but not statistically significantly so (aOR = 0.57, 95 % CI = 0.28–1.17). Exposure to animals was in general not related to CBT risk except postnatal contact with birds showing reduced aORs of all CBTs (0.67, 95 % CI = 0.46–0.97) and primitive neuroectodermal tumor (0.28, 95 % CI = 0.10–0.83). Sensitivity analyses focusing on early exposure of the child did not change the associations observed for the entire exposure period with the exception of exposure to goats and sheep which was associated with reduced risks of both all CBTs (aOR = 0.48, 95 % CI = 0.24–0.97) and astrocytomas (aOR = 0.29, 95 % CI = 0.10–0.87).

Conclusion

Altogether, our data indicate an inverse association between the mother during pregnancy or the child living on a farm and CBT risk, which contrasts with the existing literature and merits further attention. With respect to exposure to animals, we did not observe any systematic pattern. This suggests that a potential protective effect of farm residence is mediated by some other factor than animal contact.

Keywords

Childhood brain tumor Case–control Astrocytoma Primitive neuroectodermal tumor Infection Animal exposure Farm exposures 

Abbreviations

CBT

Childhood brain tumor

BT

Brain tumor

OR

Odds ratio

UOR

Unadjusted odds ratio (basic model including matching factors)

AOR

Adjusted odds ratio (adjusted model including additional confounding factors)

CI

Confidence interval

PNET

Primitive neuroectodermal tumor

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeppe Schultz Christensen
    • 1
  • Laust Hvas Mortensen
    • 2
  • Martin Röösli
    • 3
    • 4
  • Maria Feychting
    • 5
  • Tore Tynes
    • 6
    • 7
  • Tina Veje Andersen
    • 1
  • Lisbeth Samsø Schmidt
    • 1
  • Aslak Harbo Poulsen
    • 1
  • Denis Aydin
    • 3
    • 4
  • Claudia E. Kuehni
    • 8
  • Michaela Prochazka
    • 5
  • Birgitta Lannering
    • 9
  • Lars Klaeboe
    • 10
  • Tone Eggen
    • 6
  • Joachim Schüz
    • 11
  1. 1.Danish Cancer Society Research CenterCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Section of Social Medicine, Department of Public HealthUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthSwiss Tropical and Public Health InstituteBaselSwitzerland
  4. 4.University of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  5. 5.Unit of Epidemiology, Institute for Environmental MedicineKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  6. 6.The Cancer Registry of NorwayOsloNorway
  7. 7.National Institute of Occupational HealthOsloNorway
  8. 8.Institute of Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity of BernBerneSwitzerland
  9. 9.Department of Pediatrics, The Queen Silvia Children’s HospitalUniversity of GothenburgGöteborgSweden
  10. 10.Norwegian Radiation Protection AuthorityOsloNorway
  11. 11.Section of Environment and RadiationInternational Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)LyonFrance

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