Increased risk of childhood brain tumors among children whose parents had farm-related pesticide exposures during pregnancy

B. Kunkle, K. P. Singh, D. Roy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Malignant brain tumors rank second in both incidence and mortality by cancer in children, and they are the leading cause of cancer death in children. Relatively little is known about the etiology of childhood brain tumor (CBT). While there are several studies which link pesticide exposure to increased risk of CBT, findings have been inconsistent. We performed a meta-analysis on 15 published epidemiological studies to test that in utero exposure to pesticides may be involved in the development of brain cancer in children. Meta-analysis was performed using the general variance-based method and homogeneity was tested by means of the Q statistic. Summary relative risk (RR) estimates were calculated for childhood brain cancer from 1) paternal exposure to pesticides prior to conception, 2) both maternal and paternal exposure to pesticides during pregnancy, 3) maternal exposure during pregnancy to: a. agricultural and b. non-agricultural activities, and 4) childhood exposure to: a. agricultural and b. nonagricultural activities up to date of diagnosis with CBT. The Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD) was used to identify gene-pesticide-CBT interactions. Findings of meta-analyses revealed a significantly increased risk of CBT among children whose mothers had farm-related exposures during pregnancy (RR=1.48, 95% CI=1.18-1.84). A dose response was recognized when this risk estimate was compared to those for risk of CBT from maternal exposure to non-agricultural pesticides (e.g. home extermination, pest strips) during pregnancy (RR=1.36, 1.10-1.68), and risk of CBT among children exposed to agricultural activities (RR=1.32, 1.04-1.67). Three studies combined for the paternal exposure to pesticides during preconception produced a calculated summary risk estimate of odds ratio (OR) = 2.29 (95% CI: 1.39 - 3.78). Meta-analysis of five studies of paternal exposure to pesticides during pregnancy produced a final calculated summary risk estimate of OR = 1.63 (95% CI: 1.16 - 2.31). The search of the CTD databases revealed association between herbicide and astrocytoma and more than 300 genes are altered by exposure to herbicide, fungicide, insecticide or pesticides. In summary, comparing results from our categories of exposure, pre-conception and pregnancy exposure estimates were slightly higher than childhood exposure estimates, paternal exposures produced slightly higher risk estimates compared to maternal exposures, agricultural exposures produced slightly higher risk estimates compared to non-agricultural exposures and CTD search revealed potential genes-pesticides-astrocytoma interactions. Based on the collective results of these meta-analyses it appears that pesticide exposure may increase risk of CBT, with preconception and prenatal exposures being especially important factors in increasing risk of its development. Interestingly, paternal exposure may be as important, if not more important than maternal exposures, particularly during the preconception period. Whether this is a result of paternal exposures being more prevalent than maternal exposures or the consequence of a biological process, is a question that deserves further attention in future investigations of CBT etiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 20th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, MODSIM 2013
EditorsJulia Piantadosi, Robert Anderssen, John Boland
PublisherModelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand Inc. (MSSANZ)
Pages2012-2017
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780987214331
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event20th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation - Adapting to Change: The Multiple Roles of Modelling, MODSIM 2013 - Held jointly with the 22nd National Conference of the Australian Society for Operations Research, ASOR 2013 and the DSTO led Defence Operations Research Symposium, DORS 2013 - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: Dec 1 2013Dec 6 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings - 20th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, MODSIM 2013

Conference

Conference20th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation - Adapting to Change: The Multiple Roles of Modelling, MODSIM 2013 - Held jointly with the 22nd National Conference of the Australian Society for Operations Research, ASOR 2013 and the DSTO led Defence Operations Research Symposium, DORS 2013
Country/TerritoryAustralia
CityAdelaide
Period12/1/1312/6/13

Keywords

  • Childhood brain tumor (CBT)
  • Increased risk
  • Pesticide exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems and Management
  • Modeling and Simulation

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