Childhood height and risk of testicular germ cell tumors in adulthood

Int J Cancer. 2018 Aug 15;143(4):767-772. doi: 10.1002/ijc.31354. Epub 2018 Mar 26.


Increased adult stature has been associated with risk of testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) in a number of studies. Whether childhood stature is also associated with TGCT is unclear as no studies of measured childhood height and TGCT have been reported. Thus, associations between TGCT in adulthood and childhood height and growth between ages 7 and 13 years were examined in a cohort from the Copenhagen School Health Records Register. Analyses included 162,607 boys born during the years 1930-1989. Development of TGCT was determined via linkage to the Danish Cancer Registry. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards regression. Between 1968 and 2014, 782 TGCT were diagnosed. Childhood height, per one unit increase in z-score, was associated with risk of TGCT, with HRs ranging from 1.11 (95%CI 1.03-1.20) at age 7 to 1.09 (95%CI = 1.01-1.18) at age 13. In a categorical analysis, the shortest boys were at the lowest risk of developing TGCT. Results varied little by TGCT histology (seminoma and nonseminoma). Growth between ages 7 and 13 years was not associated with risk. These findings suggest that risk of TGCT in adulthood was already determined by age 7 years. Although the mechanism requires further investigation, these results provide additional evidence that risk of TGCT is determined at a young age, thus suggesting that additional investigation of early life factors is warranted.

Keywords: growth; height; testicular germ cell tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Height*
  • Child
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / epidemiology*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Testicular Neoplasms / epidemiology*

Supplementary concepts

  • Testicular Germ Cell Tumor