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Maternal Exposure to N-nitrosatable Drugs as a Risk Factor for Childhood Brain Tumors


Carozza, Susan E.; Olshan, Andrew F.; Faustman, Elaine M.; Gula, Mary J.; Kolonel, Laurence N.; Austin, Donald F.; West, E. Dee; Weiss, Noel S.; Swanson, G. Marie; & Lyon, Joseph L., et al. (1995). Maternal Exposure to N-nitrosatable Drugs as a Risk Factor for Childhood Brain Tumors. International Journal of Epidemiology, 24(2), 308-312.


BACKGROUND: Animal models suggest that compounds containing a nitrosyl group (N-nitroso compounds (NNO)) can act as potent transplacental carcinogens. Many common drug formulations have the potential to undergo nitrosation in vivo. The association between maternal use of nitrosatable drugs during pregnancy and development of brain tumours in the offspring was examined in a SEER-based case-control study.
METHODS: Maternal exposure to nitrosatable drugs during pregnancy was compared among 361 childhood brain tumour cases and 1083 matched controls recruited through random-digit dialing.
RESULTS: There was no increase in risk observed for childhood brain tumours overall (OR = 1.15; 95% CI: 0.69-1.94) or for astrocytomas individually (OR = 1.16; 95% CI: 0.50-2.69). A slight elevation in risk was noted for medulloblastomas (OR = 1.47; 95% CI: 0.28-7.62) and 'other' tumours (OR = 1.27; 95% CI: 0.56-2.86), however, both estimates were based on small numbers.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that no increased risk of childhood brain tumours was associated with maternal exposure to nitrosatable drugs. The study results should be viewed with caution given the imprecision of the point estimates as well as the lack of data on specific timing and dosage of exposure and degree of nitrosatability of drugs taken.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

International Journal of Epidemiology


Carozza, Susan E.
Olshan, Andrew F.
Faustman, Elaine M.
Gula, Mary J.
Kolonel, Laurence N.
Austin, Donald F.
West, E. Dee
Weiss, Noel S.
Swanson, G. Marie
Lyon, Joseph L.
Hedley-Whyte, Tessa
Gilles, Floyd H.
Aschenbrener, Carol
Leviton, Alan