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Parental occupational exposures and the risk of childhood sporadic retinoblastoma: a report from the Children’s Oncology Group


Objectives We examined associations between parental occupational chemical exposures up to 10 years before conception and the risk of sporadic retinoblastoma among offspring.

Methods In our multicentre study on non-familial retinoblastoma, parents of 187 unilateral and 95 bilateral cases and 155 friend controls were interviewed by telephone. Exposure information was collected retroactively through a detailed occupational questionnaire that asked fathers to report every job held in the 10 years before conception, and mothers 1 month before and during the index pregnancy. An industrial hygienist reviewed all occupational data and assigned an overall exposure score to each job indicating the presence of nine hazardous agents.

Results We estimated elevated ORs for unilateral and bilateral retinoblastoma among offspring of fathers who were exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or paints in the 10 years before conception. However, only for exposure to paints did confidence limits exclude the null for bilateral disease (OR: 8.76, 95% CI: 1.32 to 58.09). Maternal prenatal exposure to at least one of the nine agents was related to increased risk of unilateral disease in their children (OR: 5.25, 95% CI: 1.14 to 24.16). Fathers exposed to at least one of the nine agents and who were ≥30 years of age were at increased risk of having a child diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma (OR: 6.59, 95% CI: 1.34 to 32.42).

Conclusions Our results suggest a role for several hazardous occupational exposures in the development of childhood retinoblastoma.

  • retinoblastoma
  • childhood cancer

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