Malignant neoplasms of the brain during childhood: the role of prenatal and neonatal factors (United Kingdom)
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Objectives: To evaluate whether factors in pregnancy and around birth influence the risk of childhood malignant neoplasms of the brain or other parts of the nervous system.
Methods: The distribution of certain characteristics of pregnancy and birth among 83 cases of malignant neoplasms of the brain and other parts of the nervous system (diagnosed between 0 and 14 years of age) and 166 controls (individually matched on date of birth, sex, and hospital of birth) were compared. Odds ratios (OR), 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) and two-sided p-values were calculated using conditional logistic regression for matched sets.
Results: Children whose mothers had documented evidence of a clinically diagnosed viral infection during pregnancy had an approximately 11-fold increase in risk of developing a malignant neoplasm of the brain or other part of the nervous system (OR = 10.6, 95% CI = 1.1–503.2). In addition, non-statistically significant increased risks were observed among children who had a non-cephalic presentation (OR = 3.3, 95% CI = 0.8–13.9) or a low 1-minute apgar score (OR = 2.7, 95% CI = 1.0–7.4). No other aspects of the index pregnancy, delivery, or maternal characteristics were associated with an increased risk of childhood brain tumors.
Conclusions: The results reported here provide limited evidence for the role of prenatal and neonatal factors in the etiology of childhood malignant neoplasms of the brain. The finding for maternal viral infection during pregnancy warrants further investigation.
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