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Clinical Trials Update
December 25, 2013

Assisted Conception Not Associated With Higher Cancer Risk

JAMA. 2013;310(24):2605. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.284384

Epigenetic alterations discovered in children born after assisted conception has raised concerns about a potential increased risk of cancer in these individuals. Now a population-based cohort study of 106 013 children born in Britain between 1992 and 2009 after assisted reproduction found no increased risk of cancer among children younger than 15 years, the population studied (Williams CL et al. N Engl J Med. 2013;369[19]:1819-1827).

Using 2 large population-based data sets, researchers found 108 cancers in children born after assisted conception, compared with 109.7 expected cancers. There was also no increased risk for childhood cancer subtypes, with the exception of the rare cancers hepatoblastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma, and the absolute risks for these were low. “These increased risks could be chance findings, but possible alternative explanations include underlying parental infertility and mediation by either low birth weight or imprinting disorders,” the researchers wrote. The study’s results should reassure couples considering assisted conception, they said.