BACKGROUND - The etiology of childhood germ cell tumors (GCT) is not well understood. The Children's Oncology Group conducted the largest case-control study of childhood GCT to investigate whether parental exposures to smoking and alcohol contributed to the disease.
METHODS - Cases included 274 children with GCT diagnosed between January 1, 1993 and December 31, 2001 who were age <15 years. Controls (n=421) were selected by random digit dialing and were frequency matched based on gender, age (+/-1 year), and geographic area. Exposure information was collected from subjects' parents using independent telephone interviews and self-administrated questionnaires.
RESULTS - No association was found between parental smoking or drinking alcohol and risk of childhood GCT (for smoking: odds ratio [OR]=1.0, 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.8-1.3 and OR = 1.2, 95% CI, 0.9-1.5, for mothers and fathers, respectively; for drinking: OR=0.9, 95% CI, 0.7-1.2 and OR=1.0, 95% CI, 0.8-1.3, for mothers and fathers, respectively). No significant trend was observed for length of maternal exposure to passive smoking during the index pregnancy and GCT risk (for total subject: P=0.77; boys: P=0.52; girls: P=0.93).
CONCLUSIONS - The authors found no evidence that childhood GCT was related to prenatal exposure to parental cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, and maternal passive smoking.