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Multiple Siblings a Risk Factor for Childhood Brain Tumors

Results suggest infections may be etiological agent

TUESDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Children with multiple siblings are at greater risk for developing brain tumors than those in smaller families, according to a report in the Dec. 12 issue of Neurology.

Andrea Altieri, D.Sc., of the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, Germany, and colleagues analyzed data from the Swedish Family-Cancer Database that contains 13,613 diagnoses of nervous system tumors.

The investigators found that children with four or more siblings had a twofold higher risk of neuroblastoma, compared with those with none. Children up to 15 years old with three or more younger siblings were found to have a 3.71-fold risk for meningioma. The researchers also note that the risks found in this study are stronger than those for other more established risk factors.

The finding that younger siblings pose the greatest risk suggests the link may be based on infections or re-infections, the authors explain. "In the context of a putative infectious etiology of the disease, one could speculate that the pool of infectious agents assumed to be larger in large families may increase the risk of childhood neuroblastoma," they write.

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