Maternal use of antibiotics and cancer in the offspring: results of a case-control study in Germany. [+]
Cancer causes & control 2010
OBJECTIVE: As previous results were inconsistent, we assessed the association between maternal use of antibiotics during pregnancy or 3 months before conception and childhood cancer in the offspring in a large case-control study in Germany. METHODS: This population-based study on potential risk factors for childhood cancer was conducted by the German Childhood Cancer Registry (GCCR) and included a total of 1,867 registered cancer cases aged 0-14, diagnosed between October 1992 and September 1994. A total of 2,057 controls were randomly drawn from population registries, matched by age, gender, and region. Conditional logistic regression models for frequency-matched datasets were used to estimate odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). RESULTS: Positive statistically significant associations with self-reported maternal antibiotic use were observed for acute lymphoid leukemia (based on 59 mothers exposed to antibiotics, OR = 1.47; 95% CI: 1.06-2.04), acute myeloid leukemia (18 exposed, OR = 3.21; 95% CI: 1.83-5.62), and Burkitt lymphoma (three exposed, OR = 5.89; 95% CI: 1.47-23.69), but not other cancer types. CONCLUSIONS: The results provide some support for the hypothesis that maternal use of antibiotics increases the risk of cancer in the offspring. Although recall bias is a concern, it is unlikely that this fully explains the observed effect. Further, the observed associations might be related to the underlying infections.
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