AACR 2018 — Nonchromosomal birth defects tied to risk for pediatric cancer


  • Oncology Conference Roundups
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Takeaway

  • Children with nonchromosomal birth defects have a 2.6 times higher risk of developing a childhood cancer.
  • Specific nonchromosomal birth defects are associated with specific childhood cancers.

Why this matters

  • Children with a chromosomal birth defect, such as Down syndrome, have a known increased risk of cancer; less is understood about the relationship between nonchromosomal birth defects and the risk of cancer.
  • 1 in 33 children are born with a birth defect, and most have no known chromosome or genetic cause.
  • Categories of birth defects:
    • Chromosomal anomalies;
    • Single-gene syndrome (Costello syndrome);
    • Nonsyndromic (cleft lip, congenital heart disease).
  • The goal of this study is to understand the relationship between nonchromosomal birth defects and cancer to identify children who will benefit from early cancer detection and surveillance.

Study design

  • This was a population-based retrospective study.
  • Registry data from Texas, Michigan, North Carolina, and Arkansas from 1992 to 2013 identified 517,548 children with nonchromosomal birth defects; 14,774 of these children had cancer.

Key results

  • Children with a nonchromosomal birth defect have a 2.6 times higher risk of any cancer.
  • Children with ventricular septal defects have a 10-fold increased risk of hepatoblastoma.
  • Children with craniocynostosis have a 3-fold increased risk of neuroblastoma.
  • Those with right ventricular outflow tract defects have a 7-fold increased risk of neuroblastoma.

Limitations/quote

  • The study’s lead author, Jeremy M. Schraw, PhD, stated, “This study cannot establish a cause-and-effect relationship between birth defects and childhood cancers, and it is much too soon to make clinical recommendations based on this information.”
  • “We do hope our findings spur additional inquiries into these associations, so that we may better understand the biology underlying these associations.”