Parental Occupations and Childhood Brain Tumors: Results of an International Case-Control Study

Cancer Causes Control. 2001 Nov;12(9):865-74. doi: 10.1023/a:1012277703631.


Objective: To evaluate the role of parental occupations in the etiology of childhood brain tumors (CBT).

Methods: Population-based case-control studies were conducted concurrently in seven countries under the coordination of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, gathering 1,218 cases and 2,223 controls. We report here the findings related to parental occupations during the 5-year period before the child's birth. Risk estimates related to a number of paternal and maternal occupations were obtained by unconditional logistic regression adjusted for age, sex, year of birth, and center, for all types of CBT combined and for the subgroups of astroglial, primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET), and other glial tumors.

Results: An increased risk in relation with agricultural work was seen for all CBT combined and for other glial tumors. Increased risks for all tumors and PNET were seen for paternal occupation as an electrician; the same pattern held for maternal occupation when children under 5 were selected. Paternal occupation as a driver or mechanic, and maternal work in an environment related to motor-vehicles were associated with an increased risk for all CBT and astroglial tumors. More case mothers compared to control mothers were employed in the textile industry.

Conclusion: Our study reinforces previous findings relative to the role of parental work in agriculture, electricity, or motor-vehicle related occupations and maternal work in the textile industry. It does not confirm previous associations with work environments including aerospace, the chemical industry, or the food industry, or with maternal occupation as a hairdresser, a nurse, or a sewing machinist, and paternal occupation as a welder.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Astrocytoma / epidemiology
  • Astrocytoma / etiology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Brain Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / epidemiology
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / etiology*
  • Occupations*
  • Parents*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • San Francisco / epidemiology