Purpose: This meta-analysis evaluated the potential influence of environmental radon exposure on childhood leukemia.
Methods: We searched comprehensive electronic databases from PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library to identify studies evaluating the association between radon and leukemia.
Results: Ten eligible studies published from 1995 to 2014 were enrolled. Of these 10 studies, 8 were case-control studies (involving 10803 cases and 16202 controls) and 2 were cohort studies (involving 1,428 cases). Overall results as odds ratio (OR) with the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for case-control studies and fully adjusted hazard ratio (HR) with corresponding 95%CI for cohort studies were identified. A positive but weak association was found between radon exposure and childhood leukemia in case-control studies (summary OR 1.22, 95%CI 1.01-1.42) rather than cohort studies (summary HR 0.97, 95%CI 0.81-1.15). Heterogeneity or publication bias was not observed. Moreover, overall ORs were not changed by removing any single study, suggesting the stability and reliability of conclusions.
Conclusions: Future prospective studies with well-controlled confounders are needed to verify the conclusion.