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Cross-individual cancer transmission to children during the gestational and perinatal periods.

Cancer Science 2024 Februrary 19
Cancer transmission may rarely occur between individuals. Besides through allogenic transplantation, cancer transmission via the hemochorial placenta, which is permissive for cell traffic, has been described in a few reports. Three etiologies of transplacental cancer transmission include (1) maternofetal transmission of maternal cancer cells, (2) transmission of gestational choriocarcinoma to the fetus, and (3) transfer of preleukemic cells from one monozygotic twin to the other. Additionally, we recently reported two pediatric cases of lung tumors in which the lung-only distribution of tumors and genomic profiling of both the child's and mother's tumor samples suggested the airway/transbronchial transmission of maternal cervical cancer cells to the child by aspiration at birth. The immune system coordinates the hemostatic balance between effector and regulatory immunity, especially during fetal development. The immunoregulatory properties are shared in both physiological pregnancy-related and pathological cancer-related conditions. Mechanistically, the survival and colonization of transmitted cancer cells within a child are likely attributed to a combination of the child's immune tolerance and the cancer's immune escape. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of gestational/perinatal cancer transmission and discuss the possible mechanism-based immunotherapy for this rare form of pediatric cancer.

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