Paternal age linked to increased cancer risk

Paternal age linked to increased cancer risk
Paternal age linked to increased cancer risk

HealthDay News — Adult patients who were born to older father may be at increased risk for blood and immune system cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, study findings published in American Journal of Epidemiology suggest.

“The proportion of parents aged ≥35 years at the birth of their child continues to increase, but long-term health consequences for these children are not fully understood,” noted Lauren R. Teras, PhD, of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues.

To examine an association between parental — but not maternal — age at birth and sporadic hematological cancer risk, the investigators culled data from 138,003 patients who were enrolled in a long-term American Cancer Society study. Of the patients, 2,532 developed blood and immune system cancers between 1992 and 2009, reported the scientists.

Overall, people born to older fathers were at increased risk for these cancers, but the risk was especially high among only children. In this group, those who were born to fathers who were aged 35 years and older were 63% more likely to develop blood cancers than those born to fathers who were aged younger than 25 years. There was no association between having an older mother and increased risk of these cancers.

"The lifetime risk of these cancers is fairly low — about one in 20 men and women will be diagnosed with lymphoma, leukemia, or myeloma at some point during their lifetime -- so people born to older fathers should not be alarmed," Teras said in a journal news release.

"Still, the study does highlight the need for more research to confirm these findings and to clarify the biologic underpinning for this association, given the growing number of children born to older fathers in the United States and worldwide."

References

  1. Teras LR et al. Am. J. Epidemiol. 2015; doi: 10.1093/aje/kwu487.
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