BACKGROUND - Maternal exposure to exogenous female hormones during pregnancy has been implicated as a risk factor for malignant germ cell tumors (GCTs) in the offspring in some epidemiologic studies of testicular and ovarian carcinoma in adults.
METHODS - From 1996 to 2002, 278 children younger than 15 years of age with malignant GCTs and 423 healthy controls, frequency-matched for geographic location, age, and sex were enrolled in a case-control study to investigate whether in utero exposure to female hormones is associated with the risk of malignant GCT in children. Cases were recruited from 84 institutions in the U.S. and controls were enrolled through random digit dialing. Information was obtained through telephone interview with the biological mothers of the subjects and through blinded review of the mothers' medical records.
RESULTS - Neither self-reported (odds ratio [OR] = 1.15; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.63, 2.12) nor medical chart based (OR = 1.14; 95% CI, 0.75, 1.73) maternal exposure to exogenous female hormones was related to malignant GCT risk. Pregnancy-related conditions that may have altered serum levels of circulating female hormones were also unrelated to the risk of GCT in the offspring.
CONCLUSION - This study failed to provide strong evidence to support the hypothesis that maternal exposure to exogenous female hormones during pregnancy increases the risk of GCT in the offspring.