Background: Little is known about risk factors for childhood rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) and the histology-specific details are rare.Methods: Case-control studies formed by linking cancer and birth registries of California, Minnesota, New York, Texas and Washington, which included 583 RMS cases (363 embryonal and 85 alveolar RMS) and 57 966 randomly selected control subjects, were analysed using logistic regression. The associations of RMS (overall, and based on embryonal or alveolar histology) with birth weight across five 500 g categories (from 2000 to 4500 g) were examined using normal birth weight (2500-3999 g) as a reference. Large (>90th percentile) and small (<10th percentile) size for gestational age were calculated based on birth weight distributions in controls and were similarly examined.Results: High birth weight increased the risk of embryonal RMS and RMS overall. Each 500 g increase in birth weight increased the risk of embryonal RMS (odds ratio (OR)1.27, 95% confidence interval (CI)1.14-1.42) and RMS overall (OR1.18, 95% CI1.09-1.29). Large size for gestational age also significantly increased the risk of embryonal RMS (OR1.42, 95% CI1.03-1.96).Conclusions: These data suggest a positive association between accelerated in utero growth and embryonal RMS, but not alveolar RMS. These results warrant cautious interpretation owing to the small number of alveolar RMS cases.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the Children’s Cancer Research Fund (Minneapolis, MN, USA).
- Birth weight
- Gestational age
- Paediatric rhabdomyosarcoma