Spina bifida and pediatric cancers

Julia E. Heck, Pei Chen Lee, Chia Kai Wu, Chung Yi Li, Di He, Noah Federman, Fei Yu, Jorn Olsen, Beate Ritz, Onyebuchi A. Arah, Johnni Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Spina bifida has been reported to co-occur with pediatric cancer, but comprehensive evaluations remained elusive. We investigated this co-occurrence in two large, population-based studies in Taiwan (N = 1900 cancer cases, 2,077,137 controls) and Denmark (N = 5508 cases, 137,700 controls). Analyses in Denmark were restricted to the period before prenatal diagnostics became available (2004) and pregnancy terminations of fetuses with birth defects became more common. Using national patient and cancer registries, we linked spina bifida and cancer diagnoses among cases and non-cases. The risk of spina bifida among all cancer cases was increased and similar in Denmark [odds ratio (OR)=8.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.1-13.8] and Taiwan (OR = 8.5, 95% CI 4.0-17.8), particularly for central nervous system (CNS) tumors (Denmark: OR = 16.3, 95% CI 8.1-33.0; Taiwan: OR = 26.6, 95% CI 8.5, 83.1), including benign CNS tumors (Denmark: OR = 41.5, 95% CI 21.2, 81.4). These findings suggest the need for comprehensive investigation of shared risk factors in the link between spina bifida and pediatric cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-636
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Hematology and Oncology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 2

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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