Extreme preterm birth raises risk of testicular cancer

A LARGE population-based study has found a fourfold increased risk of testicular cancer in boys born extremely preterm.

The study, based on a cohort of 350,000 Swedish men, found those born at a gestational age of between 22 and 29 weeks were associated with a higher likelihood of the disease, but no association was found with preterm births at later gestational age.

The researchers cautioned their findings were based on a small number of cancers – three seminomas and two non-seminomas – among the 1279 individuals born extremely preterm.

In contrast to other studies the research found no association between testicular cancer and twinning, low or high fetal growth or low or high parental age.

Int J Cancer 2011; in press