Cancer risk among children with very low birth weights

Logan G. Spector, Susan E. Puumala, Susan E. Carozza, Eric J. Chow, Erin E. Fox, Scott Horel, Kimberly J. Johnson, Colleen C. McLaughlin, Peggy Reynolds, Julie Von Behren, Beth A. Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The risk of hepatoblastoma is strongly increased among children with very low birth weight (<1500 g). Because data on very low birth weight and other childhood cancers are sparse, we examined the risk of malignancy with very low birth weight in a large data set. METHODS: We combined case-control data sets created by linking the cancer and birth registries of California, Minnesota, New York, Texas, and Washington states, which included 17 672 children diagnosed as having cancer at 0 to 14 years of age and 57 966 randomly selected control subjects. Unconditional logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association of cancer with very low birth weight and moderately low birth weight (1500-1999 g and 2000-2499 g, respectively), compared with moderate/high birth weight (≥2500 g), with adjustment for gender, gestational age, birth order, plurality, maternal age, maternal race, state, and year of birth. RESULTS: Most childhood cancers were not associated with low birth weights. However, retinoblastomas and gliomas other than astrocytomas and ependymomas were possibly associated with very low birth weight. The risk of other gliomas was also increased among children weighing 1500 to 1999 g at birth. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggested no association between most cancers and very low birth weight, with the exception of the known association of hepatoblastoma and possibly moderately increased risks of other gliomas and retinoblastoma, which may warrant confirmation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-104
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Cancer
  • Case-control studies
  • Infant
  • Registries
  • Very low birth weight


Dive into the research topics of 'Cancer risk among children with very low birth weights'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this