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Maternal Comorbidities, Pharmaceutical Use and Childhood Cancers: A Record Linkage Study in Taiwan

University of California, Los Angeles
Julia Heck, PhD
Grant Type: 
Epidemiology Grants
Year Awarded: 
Type of Childhood Cancer: 
General Pediatric Cancer
Project Description: 


In recent years there has been a growing recognition of the importance of maternal health during the preconception and pregnancy periods in the later health of children. Many mothers experience chronic or acute health conditions in the perinatal period and a few studies have linked certain conditions with increased pediatric cancer risk. Maternal health care may further involve the use of medications to treat a preexisting condition or a condition that develops during the prenatal period.

Project Goal

The aim of this study is to examine common maternal health conditions and prescription drug use in pregnancy in relation to later childhood cancer development. In this study, we will link and utilize national health insurance claims databases in Taiwan, including the Taiwan Maternal and Child Health Database (which includes the Pharmaceutical Register and the Birth Registry, among other sources), the Assisted Reproduction Database and the Cancer Registry. Data on demographic, gestational and other factors will be available from other national registers. The findings will add evidence on childhood cancer risk among children of parents with certain health conditions or who took specific medications prior to or during pregnancy. The results will indicate if more active monitoring and screening is needed to reduce the potentially increased risk for the unborn child and can help guide recommendations on medication use among parents trying to conceive or among mothers in pregnancy.