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Endocrine Disrupting Pesticides, Neonatal Hormones and Risk of Testicular Germ Cell Tumors

Institution: 
University of California Berkeley
Researcher(s): 
Catherine Metayer, MD, PhD
Grant Type: 
Epidemiology Grants
Year Awarded: 
2018
Type of Childhood Cancer: 
Germ Cell Tumors
Project Description: 

Co-Investigators: Dr. Libby Morimoto & Dr. Robert Gunier

Background 
Testicular cancers are the most common cancer occurring among male adolescents and young adults. Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT), which makes up ~98% of testicular cancer, are part of testicular dysgenesis syndrome (TDS), a group of disorders that also include cryptorchidism, hypospadias, and impaired fertility. TDS may be a result of sex steroid imbalance during critical periods of fetal development. The incidence of TGCT has increased dramatically in the U.S. during the past 40 years, suggestive of environmental influences. However, no environmental risk factors have been established to date. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), particularly those with estrogenic and anti-androgenic activity, may play a role in this trend. No studies have explored the potential link between fetal exposure to EDCs and risk of TGCT.

Project Goal
Using our innovative linkage of California Cancer Registry data, California birth certificates and neonatal archived dried blood specimens (DBS), we will estimate exposure to EDC pesticides during pregnancy using data from the mandatory California state registry, the Pesticide Use Reporting (PUR) database. Our proposed study will be the first to assess the effects of fetal exposure to EDCs on sex steroid hormone levels in utero and on risk of TGCT. California is the leading pesticide user in the U.S., and Latinos represent the majority of farm workers, providing a unique opportunity to examine the relationship between EDC pesticides and risk of TGCT in an ethnically-diverse population. Our proposed epidemiologic study will fill key gaps in the current knowledge of the fetal origin of TGCT.