Parents' use of cocaine and marijuana and increased risk of rhabdomyosarcoma in their children

Seymour Grufferman, Ann Grossbart Schwartz, Frederick B. Ruymann, Harold M. Maurer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Parents' use of marijuana and cocaine was evaluated in a national (United States) case-control study of childhood rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). Subjects were 322 RMS cases, aged 0-20 years, from the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study, and 322 matched controls identified by random-digit telephone dialing. Parents of subjects were interviewed by telephone using a structured questionnaire. Mothers' marijuana use during the year before their child's birth was associated with a 3.0-fold increased risk of RMS in the child (95% confidence interval [CI]=1.4-6.5) and maternal cocaine use was associated with a 5.1-fold increased risk (CI=1.0-25.0). Risk was increased 3.1-fold (CI=1.4-6.7) with use of any recreational drug. Fathers' marijuana use was associated with a 2.0-fold increased risk (CI=1.3-3.3), cocaine use with a 2.1-fold increased risk (CI=0.9-4.9), and use of any recreational drug with a 2.0-fold (CI=1.3-3.3) increased risk. Case mothers' cocaine use and both parents' marijuana use were associated with their children being diagnosed at a significantly younger age. It was not possible to determine whether cocaine and marijuana have independent effects, since use of the two drugs was materially correlated. Similarly, mothers' and fathers' use of these drugs was highly correlated. In summary, parents' marijuana and cocaine use during the year preceding their child's birth may increase, by twofold to fivefold, the risk of RMS in their children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-224
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol drinking
  • United States
  • cocaine
  • marijuana smoking
  • neoplasms
  • pregnancy
  • sarcoma
  • substance abuse
  • tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Parents' use of cocaine and marijuana and increased risk of rhabdomyosarcoma in their children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this