Maternal consumption of coffee and tea during pregnancy and risk of childhood ALL: results from an Australian case-control study

Cancer Causes Control. 2011 Feb;22(2):207-18. doi: 10.1007/s10552-010-9688-1. Epub 2010 Nov 27.


Objectives: To investigate whether maternal coffee and/or tea consumption during the last 6 months of pregnancy was associated with risk of childhood ALL.

Methods: Data on coffee and tea drinking during pregnancy from 337 case mothers and 697 control mothers were analyzed using unconditional multivariable logistic regression. A meta-analysis of our findings with those of previous studies was also conducted.

Results: There was little evidence of an overall association between maternal coffee consumption and risk of ALL: OR 0.89 (95% CI 0.61, 1.30), although there was some suggestion that higher levels of intake might increase the risk in children of non-smoking mothers: OR for 2+ cups/day = 1.44 (95% CI 0.85, 2.42); this was supported by our meta-analysis. Risk was also elevated among cases with chromosomal translocations. The overall OR for maternal tea consumption was 0.82 (95% CI 0.56, 1.18), although the OR for T-cell ALL was 0.21 (95% CI 0.08, 0.51). Among ALL cases with translocations, the ORs for tea consumption tended to be elevated: OR = 1.70 (95% CI 0.79-3.68) for 2+ cups/day.

Conclusions: The observed increased risk associated with coffee and tea consumption may be confined to ALL with translocations. These associations should be explored further in large international consortia.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Coffee*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Mothers / statistics & numerical data
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / epidemiology
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / etiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Tea*


  • Coffee
  • Tea