Paediatric head CT scan and subsequent risk of malignancy and benign brain tumour: a nation-wide population-based cohort study

Br J Cancer. 2014 Apr 29;110(9):2354-60. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2014.103. Epub 2014 Feb 25.


Background: To evaluate the possible association between paediatric head computed tomography (CT) examination and increased subsequent risk of malignancy and benign brain tumour.

Methods: In the exposed cohort, 24 418 participants under 18 years of age, who underwent head CT examination between 1998 and 2006, were identified from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD). Patients were followed up until a diagnosis of malignant disease or benign brain tumour, withdrawal from the National Health Insurance (NHI) system, or at the end of 2008.

Results: The overall risk was not significantly different in the two cohorts (incidence rate=36.72 per 100 000 person-years in the exposed cohort, 28.48 per 100 000 person-years in the unexposed cohort, hazard ratio (HR)=1.29, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.90-1.85). The risk of benign brain tumour was significantly higher in the exposed cohort than in the unexposed cohort (HR=2.97, 95% CI=1.49-5.93). The frequency of CT examination showed strong correlation with the subsequent overall risk of malignancy and benign brain tumour.

Conclusions: We found that paediatric head CT examination was associated with an increased incidence of benign brain tumour. A large-scale study with longer follow-up is necessary to confirm this result.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Head / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Risk
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / adverse effects*