Risk for congenital anomalies in offspring of childhood, adolescent and young adult cancer survivors

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Abstract

Offspring of cancer survivors (CS) may be at risk for congenital anomalies due to the mutagenic therapies received by their parents. Our population-based cohort study aimed to investigate the risk for congenital anomalies in offspring of CS compared to offspring of their siblings. Using the Finnish Cancer Registry, Central Population Register, and Hospital Discharge Register, we identified hospital contacts due to congenital anomalies in 6,862 offspring of CS (early-onset cancer between 1953 and 2004) and 35,690 offspring of siblings. Associations between congenital anomalies and cancer were evaluated using generalized linear regression modelling. The ratio of congenital anomalies in offspring of CS (3.2%) was slightly, but non-significantly, elevated compared to that in offspring of siblings (2.7%) [prevalence ratio (PR) 1.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.91–1.25]. When offspring of childhood and adolescent survivors (0–19 years at cancer diagnosis) were compared to siblings' offspring, the risk for congenital anomalies was non-significantly increased (PR 1.17, 95% CI 0.92–1.49). No such increase existed for offspring of young adult survivors (20–34 years at cancer diagnosis) (PR 1.01, 95% CI 0.83–1.23). The risks for congenital anomalies were elevated among offspring of CS diagnosed with cancer in the earlier decades (1955–1964: PR 2.77, 95% C I 1.26–6.11; and 1965–1974: PR 1.55, 95% C I 0.94–2.56). In our study, we did not detect an overall elevated risk for congenital anomalies in offspring of survivors diagnosed in young adulthood. An association between cancer exposure of the parent and congenital anomalies in the offspring appeared only for those CS who were diagnosed in the earlier decades.

What's new?

Offspring of cancer survivors may be at risk for congenital anomalies due to the mutagenic therapies received by their parents. This largest population-based study on female and male early-onset cancer survivors to date investigated the risk for congenital anomalies in offspring of cancer survivors compared to offspring of their siblings. While an overall elevated risk in offspring of survivors diagnosed in young adulthood was not detected, there was an association between parent cancer and congenital anomalies for survivors diagnosed in the earlier decades. Though the results are reassuring, possible effects of emerging therapies on offspring should continue to be monitored.

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