Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 15, Issue 9, pp 931–937 | Cite as

Use of medication during pregnancy and risk of childhood leukemia (Canada)

  • Amanda K. Shaw
  • Claire Infante-RivardEmail author
  • Howard I. Morrison


ObjectiveTo examine risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) associated with maternal use of medications during pregnancy; in particular medications known or suspected to be teratogenic. Methods: Seven hundred and eighty nine children (<15years old) diagnosed with ALL in the province of Québec between 1980 and 2000 were recruited for study. A similar number of population based controls matched to cases (1:1) by sex and age were chosen from family allowance or health insurance files. Information was gathered via telephone interview with the subjects’ parents. Data were analyzed using conditional logistic regression. Results: Risk of childhood ALL was significantly increased in the offspring of mothers who reported using any medication (adjusted odds ratio (OR a dj)=1.3, 95 CI=1.0–1.6) or any teratogenic medication (OR a dj=1.4, 95 CI=1.1–1.9) during pregnancy. Among specific medication categories, only central nervous system depressants were associated with a significantly increased risk, although elevated odd ratios were found for anti-epileptics, immunosuppressants, oral contraceptives, and illicit drugs. Risk associated with use of teratogenic medications was higher with increased dose and in children diagnosed before two years of age. Conclusion: A modest increase in risk of ALL was found among children of mothers who used medication during pregnancy.


child leukemia maternal medication risk 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda K. Shaw
    • 1
  • Claire Infante-Rivard
    • 2
    Email author
  • Howard I. Morrison
    • 1
  1. 1.Population and Public Health BranchCentre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Health CanadaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, Faculty of MedicineMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada

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