Socio-demographic and antenatal risk factors of brain tumor in children and young people: A matched case-control study from Karachi, Pakistan

Nida Zahid, Syed Ather Enam, Faiza Urooj, Russell Seth Martins, Thomas Mårtensson, Andreas Mårtensson, Naureen Mushtaq, Faiza Kausar, Mariya Moochhala, Muhammad Nouman Mughal, Sadaf Altaf, Salman Kirmani, Nick Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Brain tumors are a common cause of morbidity, disability, cognitive deterioration and mortality in children, even after treatment. Little is know about the specific causes. The study aimed to assess potential socio-demographic and antenatal factors in primary brain tumor (PBTs) in children and young people (CYP) in Karachi, Pakistan. Designs and methods: A single center hospital based matched case control study in Karachi, Pakistan. Cases were defined as CYP aged between 5 and 21 years with any histological type and grade of primary brain tumor of any histology, stage or grade. Data were collected from parents of 244 patients at the selected center between 2017 and 2021 via telephonic interview. Controls were 5–21 years old CYP admitted with non-oncological diagnoses matched on age and sex. Matched Odds Ratios for predictors of brain tumor in children were derived. Those of statistical significance were included in a multivariable logistic regression model. Results: In the adjusted model, lower paternal education (matched adjusted odds ratio (maOR) 2.46; 95% CI 1.09–5.55), higher household monthly income (maOR 3.4; 95% CI 1.1–10.2), antenatal paternal use of addictive substances (maOR 19.5; 95% CI 2.1–179.8), and antenatal maternal use of analgesics during pregnancy (maOR 3.0; 95% CI 1.2–7.9) were all independently predictive of brain tumors. Conclusion: This matched case-control study found novel associations between maternal use of analgesics, paternal use of addictive substances, higher household income, and lower paternal education and Primary Brain Tumors in Children and Young People. Longitudinal multicenter studies will be required to test these associations prospectively.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Public Health Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • Brain tumor
  • antenatal factors
  • children and young people
  • matched case control
  • socio-demographic factors


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