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Severe gestational hypertension may protect against testicular cancer.

Women with severe gestational hypertension may give birth to boys at lower risk for testicular cancer, according to a study. Altered levels of pregnancy hormones have been suggested to initiate testicular cancer prenatally in the male fetus. Pregnancy hypertension and pre-eclampsia are associated with placental malfunction, including altered levels of hormones such as oestrogen and human chorionic gonadotropin. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute, Sweden observed 293 cases of germ-cell testicular cancer in the Swedish Cancer Register and 861 controls in the Swedish Medical Birth Register, extracting data on maternal and pregnancy characteristics such as gestational hypertension, proteinuria, anemia and glucoseuria. If women experienced severe gestational hypertension, male offspring were 71% less likely to develop testicular cancer than when women experienced no hypertension. If gestational hypertension was mild, there was a 62% increased risk of testicular cancer.

The mechanism behind the association between pregnancy hypertension and testicular cancer is unclear, but the findings may reflect a potentially protective effect of the altered pregnancy hormones such as human chorionic gonadotropin that occur in severe gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia, say the authors.

Pettersson A, Richiardi L, Cnattingius S, Kaijser M, Akre O. Gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and risk of testicular cancer. Cancer Research, 2008; 68(21): 8832-6.
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Author:Thompson, June
Publication:Community Practitioner
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUSW
Date:Dec 1, 2008
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