Autism in children and adolescents with cancer

Authors

  • Julie Blatt MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    2. Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    • 1185A, POB 170 Manning Dr, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7236.
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  • Allison M. Deal MS,

    1. Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Gary Mesibov PhD

    1. Division TEACCH, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • The authors have no affiliations that they consider to be relevant and important with any organization that to any author's knowledge has a direct interest, particularly a financial interest, in the subject matter discussed.

Abstract

Background

The causes of autistic disorders (AD) are not known. Abnormalities of tumor suppressor genes have suggested that these genes may be important to the development of autism in some cases, and result in an increased risk of developing cancer or other neoplasms. We explore possible associations between AD and childhood cancer.

Procedure

We reviewed our institutional pediatric cancer database for all new cancer diagnoses 1997–2007. Medical records from patients older than 2 years at last visit were reviewed for a diagnosis of AD. The prevalence of AD was estimated for neoplasms overall and for specific tumor types, and compared with that in the general pediatric population.

Results

Of 702 eligible patients, 7 (1%; 95% CI: (0.4%, 2.04%)) were labeled as AD, not different than the prevalence of AD in North Carolina's general population (0.65%, P = 0.35). Cancer diagnoses for these 7 children were acute lymphoblastic leukemia (n = 1), acute nonlymphocytic leukemia (n = 2), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (n = 1), Hodgkin Disease (n = 1), brain tumor (n = 1), osteogenic sarcoma (n = 1).

Conclusions

These data do not suggest that there is a high concordance between AD and childhood cancer. However, studies of large rigorously characterized AD cohorts will be needed to definitively address this issue. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2010; 54:144–147. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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