Prenatal X-rays don't raise kids' brain tumor risk
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Overall, children born to women who received an X-ray while pregnant are not more likely than other children to develop a brain tumor, Swedish researchers report based on a study they conducted.
However, the study hints that abdominal X-rays during pregnancy may raise the risk of a specific type of brain tumor called primitive neuroectodermal tumors.
The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, included 512 children who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor before the age of 15 and 524 children who had not been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Dr. Karin Stalberg, at Uppsala University, and colleagues gleaned information about maternal X-ray exposure during pregnancy from medical records.
They found that 21 percent of mothers had diagnostic X-rays. For abdominal X-rays, performed primarily in the third trimester, the exposure frequencies were 10.7 percent among cases and 9.4 percent among controls.
As mentioned, the investigators observed no overall increased risk for childhood brain tumor after prenatal abdominal or nonabdominal X-ray exposure.
However, when specific types of brain tumors were analyzed separately, there was a suggestion that primitive neuroectodermal tumors may be more frequent in children with prenatal abdominal X-ray exposure, although the association did not reach statistical significance, suggesting that it could have occurred by chance alone.
SOURCE: British Journal of Cancer, November 27. 2007.