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Parental occupation and childhood germ cell tumors: a case–control study in Denmark, 1968–2016



To examine associations between parental occupation and childhood germ cell tumors (GCTs) in offspring while distinguishing by common histologic subtype (i.e., yolk sac tumor and teratoma).


This population-based case-control study included childhood GCT cases in Denmark diagnosed 1968-2015 (< 16 years old at diagnosis) and sex and birth year-matched controls. Demographic information and parental employment histories were obtained from Danish registries. Parental occupation was assessed by industry; job-exposure matrices were used to examine specific occupational exposures (i.e., potentially carcinogenic organic solvents and social contact). Conditional multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


Overall, 178 childhood GCT cases (50 yolk sac tumors; 65 teratomas) and 4,355 controls were included for analysis. Maternal employment in education during pregnancy was associated with offspring GCTs (OR 2.45, 95% CI 1.23-4.90), especially yolk sac tumors (OR 5.27, 95% CI 1.94-14.28). High levels of both maternal and paternal occupational social contact were also associated with offspring yolk sac tumors across all exposure periods (ORs 2.30-4.63). No signals were observed for paternal occupational solvent exposure, while imprecise associations were estimated for maternal exposure (e.g., dichloromethane exposure during pregnancy, OR 1.51, 95% CI 0.77-2.95).


Our findings suggest that parental occupation is associated with offspring GCTs, with most consistent evidence supporting an association between maternal employment in education or other high social contact jobs and offspring yolk sac tumors.

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