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Smoking and Embryonal Tumor Study

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Investigator(s): Julia Heck, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Award Cycle: 2015 (Cycle 24) Grant #: 24RT-0033H Award: $450,835
Subject Area: Regulatory Science/New Products
Award Type: Research Project Awards
Abstracts

Initial Award Abstract

Retinoblastoma is the most common eye cancer in childhood, with approximately 300 cases diagnosed each year in the United States, and an incidence highest among Hispanics.  In comparison to adult cancers, relatively few causative factors have been identified for childhood cancers, with established causes accounting for <10% of incidence. Consequently few recommendations exist for prevention.  Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide and is an established cause of cancer at multiple organ sites in humans.  Although many researchers have long suspected that tobacco may play a role in childhood cancer etiology, studies are limited, in particular studies which examine the risk of embryonal tumors.  We propose to examine the hypothesis that exposure to maternal tobacco smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of retinoblastoma in the child. 

In this study we will ascertain neonatal dried blood spots archived by the California Genetic Disease Screening Program, and conduct global metabolite screening to examine biomarkers in neonatal blood.  Our goal for this study is to help advance the field of tobacco and childhood cancer research by applying precise exposure assessment. Cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine, is widely accepted as a biomarker of an individual’s tobacco use.  An analysis of cotinine in blood spots will allow for an assessment of the risks from tobacco smoking that is independent of biases due to errors in recall or intentional misreporting or non-participation of case parents who smoked during pregnancy. By broadly profiling metabolites we will have the opportunity to screen for other metabolites and combinations of metabolites that are useful biomarkers of disease.