Phototherapy and Childhood Cancer in a Northern California Cohort by Jean Digitale

Jean Digitale

UC San Francisco | Barbara & John Glynn

My aim is to improve the care of hospitalized pediatric patients using electronic health record data. The objective of this project was to assess the effect of phototherapy on childhood cancer.


There is conflicting evidence as to whether phototherapy given to jaundiced newborns may have a carcinogenic effect. Previously, in a large Northern California cohort, phototherapy was associated with increased risk of non-lymphocytic leukemia (although this did not remain significant after controlling for confounding). A recent study from Quebec suggested phototherapy could increase the risk of solid tumors, but only after a latent period of several years. This study re-assessed the relationship between newborn phototherapy and childhood cancer in the Northern California cohort with more children and increased follow-up time and sought to confirm a late increase in solid tumors reported from Quebec. We found no evidence for increased risk of any type of cancer following exposure to neonatal phototherapy, whether or not we included a latent period in analyses.


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