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Folic acid fortification cuts neuroblastoma: Ontario population study.

PHILADELPHIA -- Folic acid fortification of flour appears to have dramatically cut the incidence of neuroblastoma in Ontario infants, based on a population study.

Since folic acid fortification became widespread in early 1998, the incidence of neuroblastoma in Ontario dropped by 62%, compared with the rate prior to 1998, Amy E. French reported at the annual meeting of the American Society of Preventive Oncology.

The level of decline in neuroblastoma cases was roughly comparable with the approximately 50% drop in cases of infants born with neural tube defects in Ontario since folic acid fortification became widespread, said Ms. French of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The primary goal of folic acid fortification of flour in both Canada and the United States was to reduce incidence of fetal neural tube defects, but it has been found to have other effects.

In the years prior to 1998, the incidence of neuroblastoma cases was 1.57/10,000 births. In 1988 through 2000, the incidence was 0.62 cases/10,000 births. When these rates were adjusted for age at diagnosis and disease stage at diagnosis, there was a 62% drop in cases after 1998.

To examine whether folic acid fortification of flour had an effect on the incidence of any other early-onset cancers, Ms. French ran a similar analysis for acute lymphocytic leukemia and hepatoblastoma. The incidence of neither of these cancers changed during or after 1998, compared with previous years.

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Title Annotation:Infectious Diseases
Author:Zoler, Mitchel L.
Publication:Pediatric News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Sep 1, 2003
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