(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Children of U.S.-born Latinas have a high risk of developing retinoblastoma, according to a team of researchers of the Jonsson Cancer Center, University of California, Los Angeles, CA. This conclusion is based on a study entitled “Perinatal Characteristics and Retinoblastoma,” which was published online in Cancer Causes and Control

Researchers have yet to determine the etiology of retinoblastoma. In this study, the investigators aimed to determine the “associations between perinatal factors and retinoblastoma risk in California children.” To meet this aim, the investigators identified compared glioblastoma cases (N=609; 420 unilateral, 187 bilateral, and 2 with laterality unknown; age < 6 years of age) to controls, examining associations between retinoblastoma and perinatal characteristics.

The analysis revealed that bilateral retinoblastoma was associated with greater paternal age [for fathers over 35, crude odds ratio (OR) = 1.73, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.20–2.47] and with twin births (OR = 1.93, 95 % CI 0.99–3.79). In contrast, the investigators reported that, among unilateral cases, there was an increased risk among children of U.S.-born Hispanic mothers (OR = 1.34, 95 % CI 1.01–1.77) and a decreased risk for infants born to mothers of Mexico with < 9 years of education (OR = 0.70, 95 % CI 0.49–1.00). Another interesting observation was that “maternal infection in pregnancy with any STD (OR = 3.59, 95 % CI 1.58–8.15) was associated with bilateral retinoblastoma,” the investigators wrote.

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In this landmark study, the investigators provided data that support previous studies that identified associations between parental age, HPV infection, and retinoblastoma. More specifically, this study demonstrated a major difference between the lifestyles of U.S.-born Latinas and immigrant women born in rural Mexico. The investigators concluded that the latter have healthier diets and perinatal habits than the former, who often have even less education and lower socioeconomic status. It is the unhealthy lifestyle of U.S.-born Latinas that leads to the increased risk of retinoblastoma in their children.