Maldescended testes or cryptorchidism is a genital birth defect that affects 2-9% of all male new-borns. Over the last 40 years there have been reports of increased prevalence in countries like the US, the UK and the Scandinavian countries. This possible increase has in some studies been linked to a foetal exposure to chemical pollutants. In this matched case-control study, we analysed maternal serum samples in early pregnancy for three different organochlorine compounds, to investigate whether the levels were associated with the risk of cryptorchidism.
Maternal serum samples taken during the first trimester of pregnancy from 165 cases (boys born with cryptorchidism) and 165 controls, matched for birth year and maternal age, parity and smoking habits during the pregnancy, were retrieved from the Southern Sweden Maternity Biobank. The samples were analysed for 2,2′,4,4′,5,5′-hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB-153), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (p,p’-DDE) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), using gas chromatography mass spectrometry. Associations between exposure and cryptorchidism were evaluated by conditional logistic regression.
We found no statistically significantly associations between exposure to these compounds and cryptorchidism, either when the exposure variables were used as a continuous variable, or when the exposure levels were divided in quartiles.
We found no evidence of an association between maternal levels of PCB-153, p,p’-DDE or HCB during the pregnancy and the risk of having cryptorchidism in the sons.