According to the researchers, during pregnancy, a mother can pass cancer to her baby through the placenta, although this does not happen very often (only twice in a million births to mothers with cancer).
And recently, according to Japanese researchers, this is not the only way for a mother suffering from cancer to infect her child. A medical first has indeed been reported in a new study carried out by these Japanese researchers: the vaginal transmission of cancer cells from mothers with a tumor of the cervix to infants at the time of childbirth through the vagina. bass .
According to these researchers, this mode of transmission is quite possible. An infant born to a mother with cervical cancer will aspirate cancer cells from the birth canal fluids to which they may be exposed during childbirth.
Two cases of infants infected with tumor cells from their mothers
A 23-month-old infant and a six-year-old each developed lung cancer, diagnosed by CT scan when they presented to hospital with cough and chest pain, respectively.
These young patients, who were treated with chemotherapy sessions, were only cured after undergoing surgeries to remove cancerous tissue. A cancerous lobe of lung tissue was removed from the 23-month-old infant while the six-year-old had his entire left lung removed.
The respective mothers of these two young patients had been diagnosed late with cervical cancer and both died. Note that the mother of the 23-month-old infant had not been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV).
How is vaginal transmission of mother-to-child cancer cells
Histological examination of tissue from maternal cervical tumors and lung tumors from both sons suggests that the latter's cancers originated directly from their mothers, as they had similar genetic profiles in the form of certain mutations, with the absence of the chromosome. Y as well as the characteristics of the HPV genome.
According to experts, the transmission of cervical tumors from mothers to their children is the most likely cause of lung cancer development in the latter. Vaginal transmission of tumor cells from mother to child has apparently occurred through inhalation of amniotic fluid , secretions or blood from the cervix contaminated with maternal tumor cells by the infant during childbirth.
In addition, the mother-to-fetal transmission of cancer cells via the transplacental route leads to the spread of cancers not only to the lungs, but also to other organs such as the brain, liver and bones. Whereas here, the cancer only affected the lungs and was localized along the bronchi, which confirms the previous hypothesis.