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Preeclampsia Might Protect Against Testicular Cancer
Date:10/31/2008

Study suggests link between high blood pressure in pregnancy and risk of the malignancy

FRIDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women who experience severe high blood pressure may find that their risky condition ultimately helps protect their sons from testicular cancer, a new study suggests.

The reasons for the possible association remain unclear. However, the study authors theorize one possible chain-reaction explanation, in which the malfunctioning of a pregnant woman's placenta causes blood pressure to rise and/or blood vessels to narrow. This, in turn, leads to a drop in estrogen production, which could lower the risk of testicular cancer for a mother's son.

A similar drop in another pregnancy-related hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin may also play a role, the researchers said.

But whatever the potential link, the researchers stressed that mothers should not be concerned about a reverse association. Women who do not experience high blood pressure while pregnant -- also known as preeclampsia -- will not inadvertently place their sons at increased risk for testicular cancer.

"High blood pressure by itself is not thought to protect against testicular cancer," said study author Dr. Andreas Pettersson, with the clinical epidemiology unit at the Karolinska University Hospital's department of medicine, in Stockholm, Sweden. "Rather, we speculate that high blood pressure is related to other changes during pregnancy that lower the risk of testicular cancer among the sons."

Pettersson and his Swedish and Italian colleagues reported their findings in the Nov. 1 issue of Cancer Research.

According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, there will be an estimated 8,100 cases of testicular cancer diagnosed in the United States in 2008, and about 380 men will die of the disease.

For the new study, the researchers examined 293 cases of testicular cancer that wer
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