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Maternal Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus infections and risk of testicular cancer in the offspring: a nested case-control study

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Holl K, Surcel HM, Koskela P, Dillner J, Hallmans G, Wadell G, Kaasila M, Olafsdottir GH, Ögmundsdottir HM, Pukkala E, Stattin P, Lehtinen M. Maternal Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus infections and risk of testicular cancer in the offspring: a nested case-control study. APMIS 2008;116:816–22.

During recent decades the incidence of testicular cancer (TC) has increased rapidly around the world. Associated exogenous etiological factors might therefore be identifiable. We performed a case-control study nested within Finnish, Swedish and Icelandic maternity cohorts exploiting early pregnancy serum samples to evaluate the role of congenital or neonatal infections with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV) as risk factors of TC in the offspring. For each case-index mother pair, three or four matched control-control mother pairs were identified using national population registries. First trimester sera were retrieved from the index mothers of 66 TC cases and 258 matched control mothers, and were tested for antibodies to EBV and CMV. High level of maternal EBV IgG antibodies was associated with significantly increased risk of TC in the offspring (odds ratio (OR), 2.50; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.15, 5.40), especially with risk of non-seminoma TC (OR, 2.73; 95% CI, 1.25, 5.99) and non-seminoma TC diagnosed under 8 years of age (OR, 2.72; 95% CI, 1.05, 7.04). In contrast, offspring of CMV IgG-seropositive mothers had a decreased risk of TC diagnosed under 8 years of age (OR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.14, 0.89). Our results suggest that EBV and CMV infections may be associated with TC.

Keywords: Epstein-Barr virus; Maternal infection; cytomegalovirus; offspring; testicular cancer

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Child and Adolescent Health, National Public Health Institute, Oulu 2: Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Lund, Malmö 3: Public Health and Clinical Medicine/Nutritional Research 4: Virology, University of Umeå, Umeå, Sweden 5: Icelandic Cancer Registry, Reykjavik 6: Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Urology & Andrology, University of Umeå, Umeå, Sweden

Publication date: September 1, 2008


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