Maternal diabetes exposure and childhood cancer risk in offspring

  • Seppälä LK & al.
  • Int J Cancer
  • 28 Oct 2019

  • curated by Sarfaroj Khan
  • UK Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Maternal diabetes was associated with an elevated risk for childhood cancer in the offspring.
  • The risk for childhood leukaemia and certain solid tumours was higher in offspring born to mothers diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
  • Maternal diabetes medication may reduce the risk for childhood cancer, especially, in gestational diabetes.

Why this matters

  • Findings warrant further investigation for the possible risk-reducing effect of an exposure to diabetes medication on offspring cancer risk.

Study design

  • Population-based case-control study of 2029 cases (participants with childhood cancer diagnosed under the age of 20 years) and 10,103 matched population controls evaluated whether maternal diabetes and its medication are associated with the risk for childhood cancer in the offspring.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • The risk for childhood cancer was higher among the offspring exposed to any maternal diabetes vs those not exposed (crude OR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.14-1.54).
  • The risk remained elevated after adjustment for maternal age, parity and smoking status of the mother (aOR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.10-1.50).
  • Maternal diabetes medication lowered the risk for childhood cancer (aOR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.36-1.94), especially for gestational diabetes (aOR, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.05-1.25).
  • The crude OR for childhood leukaemia was 1.36 (95% CI, 1.04-1.77) among children exposed to any maternal diabetes vs those unexposed.
  • Significant association was observed between the exposure to gestational diabetes and paediatric solid tumours (aOR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.04-1.77).

Limitations

  • Risk of bias.