• birth records;
  • case-control study;
  • congenital abnormality;
  • epidemiology;
  • gestational diabetes;
  • neuroblastoma



Neuroblastoma is the most common malignancy among infants, but risk factors remain poorly understood. Because most patients present in the first few years of life, it has been hypothesized that prenatal and perinatal exposures may contribute to the pathogenesis of neuroblastoma.


A population-based case-control study was conducted by using linked birth and cancer registry records from 1980 to 2004 in Washington State. Maternal and infant characteristics from birth and hospital discharge records for 240 cases of neuroblastoma and 2400 controls were compared.


Neuroblastoma was associated with the presence of major congenital abnormalities (odds ratio [OR], 6.86; [95% CI], 2.92–16.08), particularly with cardiac abnormalities (OR, 5.84; 95% CI, 1.93–17.66), even after excluding abnormalities near the primary tumor. A borderline association was observed with maternal gestational diabetes (OR, 1.84; 95% CI, 0.98–3.47). The magnitude of both associations was greater when the analysis was limited to children who were diagnosed at age <1 year.


The findings from this population-based study supported prior case-control studies that identified an etiologic link between neuroblastoma and congenital abnormalities. However, to the authors' knowledge, the association between neuroblastoma and maternal diabetes has not been reported previously and requires further study. Cancer 2007 © 2007 American Cancer Society.