Paternal Cancer May Influence Congenital Birth Abnormalities

Male cancer survivors face increased risk of offspring with congenital birth defects, according to study

(RxWiki News) A new study finds offspring from male cancer survivors face a slight increase in major congenital birth abnormalities compared to offspring from fathers with no history of cancer.

Few studies have looked at results of children conceived through assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), including intracytoplasmatic sperm injection and in vitro fertilization. To look at the effects of paternal cancer and ARTs on pregnancy outcomes, researchers at Lund University Hospital in Sweden analyzed data of children born in Sweden and Denmark between 1994 and 2004 and identified 8,670 children with a paternal history of cancer -- 8,162 of whom were conceived naturally and 508 through ARTs.

The study found a 17 percent increased risk of major congenital malformations in paternal cancer cases regardless of how the child was conceived.

The authors suggest patients undergoing cancer treatment experience DNA-damaging treatments that interfere with molecular processes, which may account for the increased risk.

The study appears in the Feb. 8th edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.