Maternal pregnancy loss, birth characteristics, and childhood leukemia (United States)

Cancer Causes Control. 2005 Nov;16(9):1075-83. doi: 10.1007/s10552-005-0356-9.


Objective: The authors evaluated the relation between maternal pregnancy loss, birth characteristics, and childhood leukemia in the Northern California Childhood Leukemia Study.

Methods: Incident cases of childhood leukemia (age 0-14 years) were rapidly ascertained, and controls were randomly selected from birth records and individually matched to cases. A total of 366 cases [313 acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and 53 acute myeloid leukemia (AML)] and 460 controls were included in this analysis. The biological mothers of all subjects provided detailed reproductive history and birth characteristics of the index children during a personal interview. Odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using conditional logistic regression. Data on maternal pregnancy loss and birth characteristics were also available from the birth certificates of 96.3% of all subjects.

Results: History of miscarriage was associated with a significantly increased risk of AML (OR = 2.94, 95% CI: 1.03, 8.34), but not ALL. Neither birth weight, birth order, or parental ages appeared to be an important predictor of the risk of ALL or AML. A comparison between data from two different sources (interview versus birth certificate) indicated good reproducibility and offered some evidence against recall bias.

Conclusion: Maternal history of miscarriage is associated with an increased risk of childhood AML.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Birth Certificates
  • Birth Intervals*
  • Birth Order*
  • Birth Weight*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, High-Risk
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors