Maternal Dietary Intake of N-Nitroso Compounds from Cured Meat and the Risk of Pediatric Brain Tumors

  • Michael HuncharekEmail author


Experimental investigations conducted over the last several decades suggest that transplacental exposure of offspring to certain N-nitroso compounds (NOCs) results in the development of brain tumors in laboratory animals. Dietary cured meats are a recognized source of such exposures in humans and raise the possibility that maternal consumption of cured meat products during pregnancy could increase the risk of childhood brain tumors. This hypothesis was first suggested by an observational study conducted by Preston-Martin et al. in 1982 supporting such a role in human disease. Since that time, additional epidemiological analyses have been performed addressing this hypothesis although results are inconsistent across studies. Due to the possible impact of bias and confounding in the available observational studies, the relatively weak effect seen in some observational analyses is of questionable validity. Nonetheless, since the association of transplacental NOC exposure and brain tumor risk is biologically plausible, the suspected association cannot be unequivocally dismissed. This chapter reviews the current epidemiological evidence dealing with the maternal cured meat intake/childhood brain tumor association and suggests further avenues for research.


Brain Tumor Anaplastic Astrocytoma Central Nervous System Tumor Sodium Nitrite Pediatric Brain Tumor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



N-nitroso compounds


Pediatric brain tumors


Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results


Primitive neuroectodermal tumor


Central nervous system


Not otherwise specified


  1. Berlin JA, Longnecker MP, Greenland S. Epidemiology. 1993;4:218–28.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bleyer WA. Childs Nerv Syst. 1999;15:758–63.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bogovski P, Bogovski S. Int J Cancer. 1981;27:471–4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boyle P, Zaridze DG, Smans M. Int J Cancer. 1985;36:9–18.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bunin G. Pediatr Neurosurg. 2000;32:321–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bunin GR, Kuijten RR, Buckley JD, Rorke LB, Meadows AT. N Engl J Med. 1993;329:536–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bunin GR, Kuijten RR, Boesel CP, Buckley JD, Meadows AT. Cancer Causes Control. 1994;5:177–87.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bunin GR, Feuer EJ, Witman PA, Meadowns AT. Peadiatr Preinat Epidemiol. 1996;10:319–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bunin GR, Kushi LH, Gallagher PR, Rorke-Adams LB, McBride ML, Cnaan A. Cancer Causes Control. 2005;16:877–91.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bunin GR, Gallagher PR, Rorke-Adams LB, Robison LL, Cnaan A. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006;15;1660–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cohen B, Packer RJ, Siegel KR,et al. Pediatr Neurosurg. 1993;19:171–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cordier S, Iglesias MJ, LeGoaster C, Guyot MM, Madereau L, Hemon D. Int J Cancer. 1994;59:776–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dietrich M, Block G, Pogoda JM, Buffler P, Hecht S, Preston-Martin S. Cancer Causes Control 2005;16:619–35.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Doll R, Peto R. J Natl Cancer Instit. 1981;66:1191–308.Google Scholar
  15. Dropcho EJ, Wisoff JH, Walker RW,et al. Ann Neurol. 1987;22:355–64.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gilles FH, Sobel EL, Tavare CJ,et al. Age-related changes in diagnoses, histological features, and survival in children with brain tumors: 1930–1979. Neurosurgery 1995;37:1056–68.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gold EB, Gordis L, Tonascia J, Sklo M. Am J Epidemiol. 1979;109:309–19.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Gold EB, Leviton A, Lopez R, Gilles FH, Hedley-White T, Kolonel LN, Lyon JL, Swanson GM, Weiss NS, West D, Aschenbrenner C, Austin D. Cancer Res. 1989;49:4349–52.Google Scholar
  19. Gold EB, Leviton A, Lopez R et al. Cancer. 1994;73(4):1302–11.Google Scholar
  20. Greenland S. Epidemiol Rev. 1986;9:1–30.Google Scholar
  21. Haenzel W, Kurihara M. States J Natl Cancer Instit. 1968;40:43–68.Google Scholar
  22. Hecht S. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1997;216:181–91.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Howe Gr, Burch JD, Chiarelli AM, Risch HA, Choi BC. Cancer Res. 1989;49:4349–52.Google Scholar
  24. Huncharek M, Kupelnick B. Neuroepidemiology. 2004;23:78–84.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ivankovick S. Natl Cancer Inst Mongraph. 1979;51:103–15.Google Scholar
  26. Lijinsky W. Mutation Res. 1999;443:129–38.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Lijinsky W, Kovatch RM. Biomed Env Sci. 1989;2:154–9.Google Scholar
  28. Lubin F, Farbstein H, Chetrit A, Farbstein M, Freedman L, Alfandary E, Modan B. Int J Cancer. 2000;86:149–3.Google Scholar
  29. Koppang N. Nord Vet Med. 1964;16:305–22.Google Scholar
  30. Kuijten RR, Bunin GR, Nass CC, Meadows AT. Cancer Res. 1990;50:2608–12.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Little J. Int Agency Cancer Res. 1999;149.Google Scholar
  32. Magee PN. Cancer Surv. 1989;8(2):207–39.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Magee PN, Barnes JM. Br J Cancer. 1956;10:114–22.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McCredie M, Maisonneuve P, Boyle P. Int J Cancer. 1994;56:6–10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mirvish SS, Chu C. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1973;50:745–50.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Preston-Martin S, Yu MC, Benton B, Henderson BE. Cancer Res. 1982;42:5240–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Preston-Martin S, Yu MC, Henderson BE, Roberts C. JNCI 1983;70(5):863–6.Google Scholar
  38. Preston-Martin S, Pagoda JM, Mueller BA, Holly EA, Lijinsky W, Davis RL. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1996;5(8):599–05.Google Scholar
  39. Sander J. Arch fur Hygen. 1967;151:22–8.Google Scholar
  40. Sarasua S, Savitz DA. Cancer Causes Control. 1994;5:141148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sen NP, Seaman SW, Baddoo PA, Burgess C, Weber D. J Agric Food Chem. 2001;49:2096–103.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shepard SE, Schlatter C, Lutz WK. Food Chem Toxicol. 1987;25:91–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Smith MA, Freidline B, Ries LAG, Simon R. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1998;90:1269–77.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Tannenbaum SR, Mergens W. Ann NY Acad Sci. 1980;355:267–77.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Young JL, Ries LG, Silverberg E, Horm JW, Miller RW. Cancer. 1986;58:598–602.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Meta-Analysis Research GroupColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations