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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Smoking in pregnancy and risk of cancer among young children: A population-based study.


Smoking during pregnancy is a plausible risk factor for childhood cancer, yet previous studies have yielded conflicting results, and few prospective studies have been published. Data on maternal smoking were obtained from California birth certificates. We linked California birth certificates (births 2007-2011) with California Cancer Registry records for childhood cancer cases (diagnosed January 2007- September 2013) that were ages 5 or younger at diagnosis (N cases=2,021). Controls (N=40,356) were frequency-matched by birth year and randomly selected from birth certificate records. We used unconditional logistic regression to obtain odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) to assess the association between smoking during pregnancy and childhood cancer. We observed positive associations for gliomas (OR=1.8, 95% CI: 1.0-3.4) and retinoblastoma (OR=3.0, 95% CI: 1.4-6.6), particularly bilateral retinoblastoma (OR=9.4, 95% CI 3.6-24.7) with maternal smoking in pregnancy. Maternal smoking during pregnancy may be a risk factor for retinoblastoma and certain types of childhood brain tumors. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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