Cancer cells pass from mother to baby during birth

Japanese researchers recorded two babies with lung cancer passed from their mothers during childbirth.

The report was published in the magazine New England Journal of Medicine January 7, conducted by the National Cancer Research Center of Japan. Scientists conducted genetic analysis of lung cancer cells of two children aged 6 and 23 months and compared with cervical cancer cells of the mother.

The results showed the similarity in the genetic makeup of tumor samples between mother and child. In addition, both mother and child tumor samples were positive for HPV type 16.

According to the research team, mother-to-child cancer transmission is extremely rare, with the rate of 1 / 500,000 cases. Two children with lung cancer can be caused by inhaling cervical cancer cells from the mother’s amniotic fluid, secretions or blood from the cervix into the lungs. Then the cancer cells grow, causing lung cancer.

A 23-month-old child was admitted to hospital due to a cough that lasted for two weeks. X-ray and biopsy results showed lung cancer cells along the bronchi. The baby is usually born at 39 weeks. Before 7 months of birth, his mother has a negative test result for cervical cancer and has never had the HPV vaccine (cervical cancer). Three months after birth, a 35-year-old mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

The boy was followed until the age of 3, at this time only some tumors had regressed, some others continued to spread. Baby received chemotherapy but it was ineffective. Then, the doctors tested the immunotherapy nivolumab. After 14 cycles of treatment combined with lobe removal, the boy did not have a relapse.

In a 6-year-old fetus, the mother was found to have uterine polyps since pregnancy. Polyps are small, benign, growths in the womb. The results of the cervical cell test were negative, the tumor was stable, so the mother gave birth through the vagina at 38 weeks of pregnancy. However, after that, the results of a cervical biopsy showed that she had endometrial cancer.

Chemotherapy was not effective, the boy had surgery to remove the entire left lung. After 15 months of follow-up, the test results did not detect cancer cells.

Both mothers died after cancer treatment.

Previously, scientists have confirmed the ability of cancer cells to pass from mother to child during normal birth, but research data on this problem is limited. This is the first report of cancer cases reported by mother-to-child transmission of cancer during birth.

From the research results, the scientists also recommend cesarean section with signs of cervical cancer, to limit the transmission of cancer cells and proactively vaccinate.

Le Cam (According to the New England Journal of Medicine)


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