The team chose to study retinoblastoma because its causes remain poorly understood. They sought to examine associations between perinatal factors and cancer risk in California children. They identified 609 retinoblastoma cases, 420 that occurred in one eye (unilateral) and 187 that occurred in both eyes (bilateral). They randomly selected more than 200,000 control children without cancer from the California birth rolls. The source of most of the risk factor data in this study was information from birth certificates, Ritz said.
Retinoblastoma is the result of the loss or mutation of both alleles of the RB1 tumor suppressor gene. About 40 percent of cases are considered hereditary, and most of these present as bilateral disease.
"In conclusion, we observed risk of retinoblastoma to be related to several risk factors," the study states. "Bilateral disease risk was higher among children of older fathers, and among children of multiple birth pregnancies. We observed a higher risk of unilateral disease among children of U.S.-born Latina women. Further research should be done to confirm this finding and to examine the unique risks experienced in this population."
|Contact: Kim Irwin|
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences