Children of childhood cancer survivors are not at increased risk for
congenital anomalies due to their parent’s cancer treatment, according to
results from data taken from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.
Researchers conducted the retrospective study to
determine if childhood cancer survivors’ children were at greater risk for
genetic anomalies due to mutagenic treatments, specifically those to the testes
The study looked at all cases of congenital anomalies
among 4,699 children of either male (n=1,128) or female cancer survivors
(n=1,627). Specifically, the researchers were looking for a relationship
between chemotherapy with alkylating agents and radiotherapy to the testes and
ovaries and congenital anomalies.
Among the 4,699 children, 129 had an anomaly. However,
no relationship was found linking prior cancer treatment with the anomalies.
Three percent of children whose mothers had treatment
with an alkylating agent or radiation had anomalies vs. 3.5% whose mother was
exposed to neither.
Among the children of male survivors exposed to these
treatments types, 1.9% had an anomaly vs. 1.7% of the children whose parents
were exposed to neither. Further, the dose of radiation to the testes or
ovaries had no effect on the likelihood of children having an anomaly.
“Our findings were based on 5-year childhood cancer
survivors and thus are limited in their generalization outside this
group,” the researchers wrote. “However, given the young ages of
these patients, pregnancies would be unusual before 5-year survivorship, thus
our findings should be relevant to the majority of childhood cancer
For more information:
- Signorello LA. J Clin Oncol. 2011;20:239-245.