Allergy and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a population-based and record-based study

Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Dec 1;176(11):970-8. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws263. Epub 2012 Nov 20.


A deficit of normal immune stimulation in early childhood is a suspected risk factor for both childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and allergies. The present study utilized a population-based case-control design using medical claims data from the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan to evaluate the association between allergy and childhood leukemia. Eight hundred forty-six childhood ALL patients who were newly diagnosed during 2000 to 2008 and were older than 1 but less than 10 years of age were individually matched with 3,374 controls based on sex, birth date, and time of diagnosis (reference date for the controls). Conditional logistic regression was performed to assess the association between childhood ALL and allergies. An increased risk of ALL was observed with having an allergy less than 1 year before the case's ALL diagnosis (odds ratio (OR) = 1.7, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.5, 2.0), more than 1 year before the case's diagnosis (OR = 1.3, 95% CI: 1.1, 1.5), and before the age of 1 year (OR = 1.4, 95% CI: 1.1, 1.7). These results suggest that the pathogenesis of childhood ALL and allergy share a common biologic mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / epidemiology
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / immunology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Taiwan / epidemiology