Objective: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common childhood cancer, and the second most common cause of mortality in children aged 1-14 years. Recent research has established that the disease can originate in utero, and thus maternal diet may be an important risk factor for ALL.
Methods: The Northern California Childhood Leukemia Study is a population-based case-control study of risk factors for childhood leukemia, including maternal diet. Cases (n = 138) and controls (n = 138) were matched on sex, date of birth, mother's race, Hispanicity, and county of residence at birth. Maternal dietary intake in the 12 months prior to pregnancy was obtained by a 76-item food frequency questionnaire.
Results: Consumption of the vegetables (OR = 0.53; 95% CI, 0.33-0.85; p = 0.008), protein sources (OR = 0.40; 95% CI, 0.18-0.90, p = 0.03), and fruits (OR = 0.71; 95% CI, 0.49-1.04; p = 0.08) food groups were inversely associated with ALL. Among nutrients, consumption of provitamin A carotenoids (OR = 0.65, 95% CI, 0.42-1.01; p = 0.05), and the antioxidant glutathione (OR = 0.42; 95% CI, 0.16-1.10; p = 0.08) were inversely associated with ALL.
Conclusion: Maternal dietary factors, specifically the consumption of vegetables, fruits, protein sources and related nutrients, may play a role in the etiology of ALL. Dietary carotenoids and glutathione appear to be important contributors to this effect.
Copyright 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers