Gestational Hypertension Linked to Testicular Cancer

Maternal complication associated with both lower, higher risks of later cancer in offspring

THURSDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Depending on its severity, gestational hypertension may be associated with a lower or higher risk of testicular cancer in male offspring later in life, according to research published in the Nov. 1 Cancer Research.

Andreas Pettersson, M.D., of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues assembled case-control data from a birth register of nearly all men born in Sweden starting in 1973 and compared maternal factors in 293 cases of germ cell testicular cancer and 861 controls.

In subjects exposed to severe gestational hypertension, the risk of testicular cancer was much lower (odds ratio 0.29). However, those exposed to mild gestational hypertension faced an elevated risk of testicular cancer (odds ratio 1.62, confidence interval 0.98 to 2.69), though the latter finding was of less statistical significance.

"Women with preeclampsia, notably severe preeclampsia, have been reported to have lower estrogen levels during pregnancy. Some studies have also reported higher levels of androgens in women with preeclampsia, and low levels of androgens have been implicated in the pathogenesis of testicular cancer," the authors write. "We conclude that these data provide further evidence against intrauterine growth retardation as a cause of testicular cancer. Our findings may rather reflect a potentially protective effect of the changes in the levels of pregnancy hormones such as estrogen and hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) that occur in severe gestational hypertension and preeclampsia."

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