, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 117-124
Date: 21 Nov 2012

Nutrition in early life and risk of childhood leukemia: a case–control study in Greece

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Abstract

Purpose

There is a paucity of findings concerning the role of diet in childhood leukemogenesis, whereas the results are equivocal and the studies heterogeneous with regard to food items examined. This case–control study investigates the association of childhood leukemia with food groups, macronutrient consumption, total energy intake and adherence to Mediterranean diet among children aged 5–14 years in Greece.

Methods

A total of 139 consecutive, incident leukemia cases out of which 121 were acute lymphoblastic leukemia were derived from the Nationwide Registry for Childhood Hematological Malignancies along with one : one age- and gender-matched hospital controls. Information on socio-demographic, maternal and child variables and dietary habits was obtained through in-person interviews with the guardians/children. Multiple logistic regression was performed with adjustment for birth weight and possible confounding variables.

Results

Higher consumption of added lipids was associated with an increased risk of childhood leukemia, whereas consumption of milk and dairy products with reduced risk. From the macronutrient analysis, a borderline trend linking high protein intake with reduced childhood leukemia risk was observed.

Conclusion

Consumption of milk and dairy products in the first year of life may protect against childhood leukemia possibly through vitamin D actions, while added lipids may increase the risk through various mechanisms. These results offer a holistic evaluation of children’s nutrition and suggest that dietary habits in the early years of life may contribute to the prevention of childhood leukemia.