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Cancer Risks in Parents Who had a Child with a Congenital Malformation


  • Additional Supporting Information may be found in the online version of this articleGrant Sponsor: Danish Cancer Society; Grant number: R20-A1028–10-52.

Correspondence to: Yuelian Sun, Section for Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé 2, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. E-mail:


Cancer risk in parents may be related to congenital malformations (CMs) in their children if they share genetic susceptibility or environmental exposure that may be teratogenic and carcinogenic. We conducted a population-based cohort study based on Danish register data. We identified 795,607 mothers and 781,424 fathers who had all their children between 1977 and 2007 in Denmark. Information on CM was obtained from the Danish Hospital Registry and information on cancer was obtained from the Danish Cancer Registry. Parents were followed from the birth of their first child until the diagnosis of cancer, death, emigration, or December 31, 2007. We used Cox regression models to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for cancer including cancer in specific organs in mothers and fathers. Overall, 75,701 (9.5%) mothers and 72,724 (9.3%) fathers had at least one child diagnosed with CMs within the first year of life. Neither mothers (HR = 1.04; 95% CI: 0.99–1.04) nor fathers (HR = 1.03; 95% CI: 0.98–1.09) who had a child with a CM had a higher overall risk of cancer. Mothers (HR = 0.76, 95% CI: 0.58–1.00) or fathers (HR = 0.89, 95% CI: 0.66–1.19) who had a child with a chromosomal malformation had a lower overall cancer risk. The findings also showed a higher risk for some specific types of cancer in parents who had children with a CM in the specific system. Some, or perhaps all, of these findings may be due to chance caused by multiple comparisons. We present all results on paper or online to provide clues for further research and to avoid publication bias.