Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp 1075–1083

Maternal Pregnancy Loss, Birth Characteristics, and Childhood Leukemia (United States)


    • Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthYale University School of Medicine
  • Catherine Metayer
    • School of Public HealthUniversity of California
  • Monique B. Does
    • School of Public HealthUniversity of California
  • Patricia A. Buffler
    • School of Public HealthUniversity of California

DOI: 10.1007/s10552-005-0356-9

Cite this article as:
Ma, X., Metayer, C., Does, M.B. et al. Cancer Causes Control (2005) 16: 1075. doi:10.1007/s10552-005-0356-9


Objective: The authors evaluated the relation between maternal pregnancy loss, birth characteristics, and childhood leukemia in the Northern California Childhood Leukemia Study.

Methods: Incident cases of childhood leukemia (age 0–14 years) were rapidly ascertained, and controls were randomly selected from birth records and individually matched to cases. A total of 366 cases [313 acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and 53 acute myeloid leukemia (AML)] and 460 controls were included in this analysis. The biological mothers of all subjects provided detailed reproductive history and birth characteristics of the index children during a personal interview. Odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using conditional logistic regression. Data on maternal pregnancy loss and birth characteristics were also available from the birth certificates of 96.3% of all subjects.

Results: History of miscarriage was associated with a significantly increased risk of AML (OR = 2.94, 95% CI: 1.03, 8.34), but not ALL. Neither birth weight, birth order, or parental ages appeared to be an important predictor of the risk of ALL or AML. A comparison between data from two different sources (interview versus birth certificate) indicated good reproducibility and offered some evidence against recall bias.

Conclusion: Maternal history of miscarriage is associated with an increased risk of childhood AML.


acute lymphoblasticleukemiaacute myeloidchildmiscarriageabortion

Copyright information

© Springer 2005