Birth weight, maternal weight and childhood leukaemia

Br J Cancer. 2006 Jun 5;94(11):1738-44. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6603173.


There is mounting evidence that childhood leukaemia is associated with high birth weight, but few studies have examined the relationship between leukaemia and other perinatal factors that influence birth weight, such as maternal weight or gestational weight gain. This case-cohort study included 916 acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL) and 154 acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) cases diagnosed prior to age 10 years between 1985 and 2001 and born in New York State excluding New York City between 1978 and 2001. Controls (n=9686) were selected from the birth cohorts for the same years. Moderate increased risk of both ALL and AML was associated with birth weight 3500 g or more. For ALL, however, there was evidence of effect modification with birth weight and maternal prepregnancy weight. High birth weight was associated with ALL only when the mother was not overweight while heavier maternal weight was associated with ALL only when the infant was not high birth weight. Increased pregnancy-related weight gain was associated with ALL. For AML, birth weight under 3000 g and higher prepregnancy weight were both associated with increased risk. These findings suggest childhood leukaemia may be related to factors influencing abnormal fetal growth patterns.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight*
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / epidemiology*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Mothers
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Registries
  • Weight Gain*