Maternal Serum α-Fetoprotein Levels during Pregnancy and Testicular Cancer in Male Offspring: A Cohort Study within a Danish Pregnancy Screening Registry

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Fulltext

    Final published version, 1.1 MB, PDF document

Testicular cancer is believed to originate from disruptions of normal androgen-estrogen balance in-utero. α-fetoprotein (AFP) may modify fetal response to estrogens via estrogen interaction. In a cohort study, we investigated the association between circulating maternal pregnancy AFP and testicular cancer risk in offspring. Of the 56,709 live-born males from a pregnancy screening registry in 1980–1995, our study included 50,519 singleton males with available second trimester blood samples from their mothers and complete covariate ascertainment. Testicular cancer diagnoses and covariate data were obtained from nationwide Danish health registries. Cox regression and Kaplan–Meier analyses estimated the prospective risk of testicular cancer (all, seminoma, nonseminoma) by AFP multiples of the median. During follow-up, 163 (0.3%) of the included males developed testicular cancer, of which 89 (54.6%) were nonseminomas. Maternal serum AFP levels greater than/equal to the median were associated with a relative risk of testicular cancer close to unity (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.76; 1.41) compared to AFP below the median. Associations differed by type of testicular cancer (RRseminoma 0.81, 95% CI 0.51; 1.29, RRnonseminoma 1.31, 95% CI 0.85; 2.02). On balance, our findings do not support that serum AFP in pregnancy can be used as a predictor of testicular cancer in offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14112
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.

    Research areas

  • pregnancy, serum, testicular cancer, α-fetoprotein

ID: 326622370