BACKGROUND: Maternal exposure to cigarette smoke in pregnancy may play a role in the development of testicular cancer in offspring. An updated and comprehensive systematic review of the available evidence is needed.
OBJECTIVE: To identify and evaluate current evidence on maternal exposure to cigarette smoke during pregnancy and testicular cancer in offspring.
METHODS: A systematic search of English peer-reviewed original literature in PubMed through a block search approach. Publications were considered if assessing maternal exposure to cigarette smoke and the risk of testicular cancer in offspring.
RESULTS: Among the 636 identified records, 14 publications were eligible for review and 10 for meta-analysis. Quality assessment of the publications was conducted. Most included publications were case-control studies (n = 11, 79%), while the remaining were ecological studies (n = 3, 21%). Completeness of reporting was high, but more than half were considered subject to potential bias. The trend synthesis showed that half (n = 7) of the included publications demonstrated a higher risk of testicular cancer in the sons of mothers exposed to cigarette smoke during pregnancy. The meta-analysis generated an overall summary risk estimate of 1.00 (95% CI: 0.88; 1.15) (n = 10 publications), with a lower risk for seminoma (0.79, 95% CI: 0.59; 1.04) and nonseminoma (0.96, 95% CI: 0.74; 1.26) (n = 4 publications).
CONCLUSIONS: This systematic review did not provide evidence of an association between maternal exposure to cigarette smoke and risk of testicular cancer in offspring. An overall positive trend was suggested, but it had low statistical precision. The methodological limitations across publications encourage further research based on valid exposure data.