Birth de­fects, can­cer linked

Weekend Mirror - - CHILDREN’S CORNER -

Some

chil­dren born with birth de­fects may be at in­creased risk for spe­cific types of can­cer, ac­cord­ing to a new re­view from the Brown School and the School of Medicine at Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity in St. Louis.

In the first sys­tem­atic and most com­pre­hen­sive re­view on the topic, Kim­berly John­son, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at the Brown School, and her col­leagues, in­clud­ing Todd Dru­ley, a pe­di­atric on­col­o­gist and as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor in the School of Medicine, an­a­lyzed ar­ti­cles re­port­ing data from 80 stud­ies con­ducted around the world. They found an in­creased risk for cer­tain can­cers among chil­dren born with birth de­fects.

The anal­y­sis, “Pe­di­atric Can­cer Risk in As­so­ci­a­tion With Birth De­fects: A Sys­tem­atic Re­view,” was pub­lished July 27 in the on­line jour­nal PLOS ONE.

More than 14,000 chil­dren in the U.S. are di­ag­nosed with can­cer each year.

Iden­ti­fy­ing and un­der­stand­ing con­nec­tions be­tween ab­nor­mal fe­tal or child­hood de­vel­op­ment and can­cer will have im­pli­ca­tions for per­son­al­iz­ing the treat­ment of chil­dren, Dru­ley said.

“Clear, pos­i­tive as­so­ci­a­tions ex­ist be­tween birth de­fects and pe­di­atric can­cer with ev­i­dence for in­creased risks for spe­cific can­cer/birth-de­fect type com­bi­na­tions such as cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem ab­nor­mal­i­ties and cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem can­cer, rib anom­alies and a num­ber of can­cer types, and gen­i­touri­nary ab­nor­mal­i­ties and hep­to­blas­toma,” John­son said.

Ad­vances in gene se­quenc­ing may pro­vide even better iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of chil­dren with birth de­fects who are at high risk of can­cer.

“This work pro­vides a foun­da­tion for fu­ture in­ves­ti­ga­tions that are needed to clar­ify spe­cific birth de­fect types pre­dis­pos­ing to­ward ma­lig­nancy and pos­si­ble un­der­ly­ing causes of both birth de­fects and ma­lig­nancy,” John­son wrote in the pa­per.

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