Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Birth size and adult cancer risk


Study shows larger babies have higher risk of certain cancers in adulthood

Babies who weighed more at birth had higher rates of digestive and lymphatic cancers in adulthood, according to a new study published February 7, 2005 in the online edition of the International Journal of Cancer, the official journal of the International Union Against Cancer (UICC). The study, available online at Wiley InterScience, also found that women who weighed more at birth had significantly higher rates of breast cancer before age 50, though much lower rates of endometrial cancer at all ages.

Medical experts have proposed associations between birth size and rates of adult cancer. To examine this hypothesis, researcher Valerie A. McCormack and colleagues at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the Universities of Uppsala and Stockholm investigated overall and site-specific cancer incidence in relation to birth characteristics in a Swedish population-based cohort.

The cohort included 11,166 babies born between 1915 and 1929 at Uppsala Academic Hospital in Sweden. At birth, detailed obstetric notes were taken on maternal age, gestational age, birth order, birth weight, placental weight, birth length and head circumference. Follow-up of the cohort was done through linkages to the Swedish Cancer Registry, national censuses and the Swedish Register of Deaths and Migration.

With 2685 people (24 percent) in the cohort diagnosed with cancer between 1960 and 2001, larger birth size was associated with an increased risk of certain adult cancers. A standard deviation increase in birth weight (which was 450g at 40 weeks gestation) was associated with a 17 percent increase in lymphatic cancers, and a 13 percent increase in digestive cancers, including stomach, colorectal and pancreatic, though no association was seen between higher birth weight and five other non reproductive-related cancer sites.

Reproductive-related cancers accounted for nearly half of all cancer in women and nearly a third of all cancer in men. For women, a strong association was found between breast cancer in women under age 50 and larger birth size. Women in the highest category of birth weight (4kg or greater) were four times as likely to get breast cancer before age 50, compared with women in the lowest category (less than 3 kg). On the other hand, women who were large at birth were only half as likely to get endometrial cancer compared to their smallest counterparts. For men, the most common reproductive-related cancer, of the prostate gland, was analyzed but no association to birth factors was found.

While the researchers note that some of their findings may have arisen by chance, it is plausible that the associations between birth weight and adult cancer are related to some aspects of the fetal environment or the number of cells at risk of carcinogenesis. "We have found some evidence supporting the hypothesis that larger birth size is associated with increased risk of certain adult cancers," the authors report. "However, our findings suggest that positive associations were not uniform across all cancer sites, but were particular to just a few sites. Furthermore, our findings generate the hypothesis, which merits further study, that rates of endometrial cancer are lower in women who had higher birth rates."

Since previous studies have found associations between smaller birth size and increased risks of adult heart disease and diabetes, the authors conclude, "Both circulatory disease and cancer need to be considered in determining the net effect of prenatal influences on adult morbidity and mortality."

David Greenberg | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>