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Case-control study of birth characteristics and the risk of hepatoblastoma.

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Hepatoblastoma is a malignant embryonal tumor typically diagnosed in children younger than five years of age. Little is known on hepatoblastoma etiology.


We matched California Cancer Registry records of hepatoblastomas diagnosed in children younger than age 6 from 1988 to 2007 to birth records using a probabilistic record linkage program, yielding 261 cases. Controls (n=218,277), frequency matched by birth year to all cancer cases in California for the same time period, were randomly selected from California birth records. We examined demographic and socioeconomic information, birth characteristics, pregnancy history, complications in pregnancy, labor and delivery, and abnormal conditions and clinical procedures relating to the newborn, with study data taken from birth certificates.


We observed increased risks for hepatoblastoma among children with low [1500-2499 g, Odds Ratio (OR)=2.02, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.29-3.15] and very low birthweight (<1500 g, OR=15.4, 95% CI 10.7-22.3), preterm birth <33 weeks (OR=7.27, 95% CI 5.00, 10.6), small size for gestational age (OR=1.75, 95% CI 1.25-2.45), and with multiple birth pregnancies (OR=2.52, 95% CI 1.54-4.14). We observed a number of pregnancy and labor complications to be related to hepatoblastoma, including preeclampsia, premature labor, fetal distress, and congenital anomalies.


These findings confirm previously reported associations with low birthweight and preeclampsia. The relation with multiple birth pregnancies has been previously reported and may indicate a relation to infertility treatments.

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