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EAN 2023 | Cancer risk in children of mothers with epilepsy and high-dose folic acid use during pregnancy

Women with epilepsy receiving treatment with antiseizure medications (ASMs) are often prescribed high-dose folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy due to the risk of congenital anomalies associated with ASMs. Marte-Helene Bjork, MD, PhD, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway, discusses recent data from the SCAN-AED study on the risk of childhood cancer after prenatal exposure to high-dose folic acid. Results from the study showed a 2.7-fold increased risk o childhood cancer in children of mothers with epilepsy who filled a prescription for high-dose folic acid compared with children born to mothers with epilepsy who were prenatally exposed to antiseizure medications but not high-dose folic acid. Additionally, the study found no increased cancer risk in children of mothers without epilepsy exposed to high-dose folic acid. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and should focus on investigating the possible etiologic mechanisms between folic acid and ASMs exposure in pregnancy and the risk of cancer. This interview took place at the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) 2023 Congress in Budapest, Hungary.

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