Moms' Smoking Linked to Testicular Cancer in Sons
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Sons of women who smoked during pregnancy may face increased odds of developing testicular cancer, according to epidemiologists in Sweden and Italy.
The parallel between increasing trends in testicular cancer and female lung and bladder cancer, as well as evidence that testicular cancer may begin in the womb, have led to the theory that maternal smoking during pregnancy may be responsible for the testicular cancer epidemic, say the authors of a report in the International Journal of Cancer.
To further investigate, Dr. Andreas Pettersson of the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm and associates looked at data from the Nordic Cancer Registries on smoking habits among women of child-bearing age, and for rates of testicular cancer in men aged ages 20 to 34 who were born 28 years after the women.
The research team found that as smoking rates rose in the women, so did the incidence of testicular cancer in the men.
Tobacco smoke can decrease levels of pregnancy hormones, reduce placental blood flow and retard fetal growth, Pettersson's group points out. The carcinogens present in smoke can also cross the placenta.
"If the testicular development is disturbed or delayed, this may result in neoplastic transformation as well as fertility problems and malformations of the male urogenital tract," they conclude.
SOURCE: International Journal of Cancer, May 10, 2004.