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Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and birthweight: Insights from a pooled analysis of case-control data from Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States

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Publication details

JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
DatePublished - Apr 2013
Issue number6
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)1437-1447
Original languageEnglish


BACKGROUND: Heavy birthweight is one of the few established risk factors for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). To provide new insight into this relationship, particularly at the extremes (4500g), we pooled data from three of the largest childhood cancer case-control studies ever conducted. METHODS: Birthweight and gestational age on 4075 children with ALL and 12,065 controls were collected during the course of three studies conducted in the USA, the UK and Germany in the 1990s. Information was obtained from mothers at interview, and the impact of bias was evaluated using the UK study which accessed birth registrations of participants and non-participants. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using unconditional logistic regression models. RESULTS: Children with ALL were, on average, heavier than controls at all gestations, the disparity being driven by a deficit of low-birthweight at all gestations and an excess of high-birthweight at ⩾40weeks. Overall, a 1.2 (95% CI 1.1-1.3) increase in ALL risk per kg increase in birthweight was observed; the ORs rising from 0.2 (0.1-0.7) at ⩽1500g through to 1.2 (0.9-1.6) at ⩾4500g; and 0.8 (0.7-0.9)

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