Infection, immune responses and the aetiology of childhood leukaemia

Nat Rev Cancer. 2006 Mar;6(3):193-203. doi: 10.1038/nrc1816.


Childhood leukaemia is the principal subtype of paediatric cancer and, despite success in treatment, its causes remain enigmatic. A plethora of candidate environmental exposures have been proposed, but most lack a biological rationale or consistent epidemiological evidence. Although there might not be a single or exclusive cause, an abnormal immune response to common infection(s) has emerged as a plausible aetiological mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibody Formation / physiology*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Leukemia / etiology*