Background: The presence of a congenital anomaly is associated with increased childhood cancer risk, likely due to large effects of Down syndrome and chromosomal anomalies for leukemia. Less is known about associations with presence of non-chromosomal anomalies. Methods: Records of children diagnosed with cancer at <20 years of age during 1984-2013 in Washington State cancer registries were linked to their birth certificates (N = 4,105). A comparison group of children born in the same years was identified. Congenital anomalies were assessed from birth records and diagnosis codes in linked hospital discharge data. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for cancer, and for specific cancer types in relation to the presence of any anomaly and specific anomalies. Results: Having any congenital anomaly was associated with an increased risk of childhood cancer (OR: 1.46, 95% CI 1.28-1.65). Non-chromosomal anomalies were also associated with increased childhood cancer risk overall (OR: 1.35; 95% CI: 1.18-1.54), and with increased risk of several cancer types, including neuroblastoma, renal, hepatoblastoma, soft-tissue sarcoma, and germ cell tumors. Increasing number of non-chromosomal anomalies was associated with a stronger risk of childhood cancer (OR for 3+ anomalies: 3.11, 95% CI: 1.54-6.11). Although central nervous system (CNS) anomalies were associated with CNS tumors (OR: 6.05, 95% CI 2.75-13.27), there was no strong evidence of other non-chromosomal anomalies being specifically associated with cancer occurring in the same organ system or anatomic location. Conclusions: Non-chromosomal anomalies increased risk of several cancer types. Additionally, we found that increasing number of non-chromosomal anomalies was associated with a stronger risk of cancer. Pooling similar data from many regions would increase power to identify specific associations in order to inform molecular studies examining possible common developmental pathways in the etiologies of birth defects and cancer.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was supported, in part, by research support from the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer (B. Mueller and P. Lupo), as well as the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT RP140258; P. Lupo). We also thank the Washington State Department of Health for Data Access and Mr. Bill O’Brien for programming and data management assistance.
© 2017 Norwood et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.