Fertility treatment and childhood cancer risk: a systematic meta-analysis

In this systematic meta-analysis of both cohort and case-control studies, published through September 2012, we found an increased risk for cancer among children born after fertility treatment.

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Authors

Marie Hargreave, M.Sc., Allan Jensen, M.Sc., Ph.D., Anita Toender, M.Sc., Klaus Kaae Andersen, M.Sc., Ph.D., Susanne Krüger Kjaer, M.D., D.M.Sc.

Volume 100, Issue 1, Pages 150-161, July 2013

Abstract

Objective:

To clarify the association between fertility treatment and the risk for cancer in children.

Design:

Meta-analysis.

Setting:

None.

Patient(s):

Twenty-five cohort and case-control studies involving children born after fertility treatment as the exposure of interest and cancer as the outcome.

Intervention(s):

None.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Medline was searched through September 2012 to identify relevant studies. The study-specific estimates for each cancer outcome were combined into a pooled relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) by a meta-analytic approach.

Result(s):

We found that children born after fertility treatment were at increased risk for all cancers (RR = 1.33; 95% CI, 1.08–1.63) and for hematological cancers (RR = 1.59; 95% CI, 1.32–1.91), central nervous system/neural cancers (RR = 1.88; 95% CI, 1.02–3.46), and other solid cancers (RR = 2.19; 95% CI, 1.26–3.80). For specific cancer types, we found increased risks for leukemias (RR = 1.65; 95% CI, 1.35–2.01), neuroblastomas (RR = 4.04; 95% CI, 1.24–13.18), and retinoblastomas (RR = 1.62; 95% CI, 1.12–2.35) associated with fertility treatment.

Conclusion(s):

The results of the largest meta-analysis on this topic to date indicate an association between fertility treatment and cancer in offspring. However, our results do not rule out that factors related to underlying subfertility, rather than the procedure itself, are the most important predisposing factors for childhood cancer.

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(13)00418-4/fulltext


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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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