Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 117–124 | Cite as

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

  • Andreas-Antonios Diamantaras
  • Nick Dessypris
  • Theodoros N. Sergentanis
  • Evangelos Ntouvelis
  • Fani Athanasiadou-Piperopoulou
  • Margarita Baka
  • Ioanna Fragandrea
  • Maria Moschovi
  • Sofia Polychronopoulou
  • Eftichia Stiakaki
  • Demosthenes Panagiotakos
  • Eleni Petridou
Original paper



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.


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.


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.


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.


Food group Diet Nutrition Macronutrients Child Leukemia 



We would like to express our gratitude to the six Childhood Hematology–Oncology Departments, who kindly provided us with valuable data on their studies. This research has been funded in part by the Athens University Medical School.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10552_2012_97_MOESM1_ESM.doc (98 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 98 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas-Antonios Diamantaras
    • 1
  • Nick Dessypris
    • 1
  • Theodoros N. Sergentanis
    • 1
  • Evangelos Ntouvelis
    • 1
  • Fani Athanasiadou-Piperopoulou
    • 2
  • Margarita Baka
    • 3
  • Ioanna Fragandrea
    • 1
  • Maria Moschovi
    • 4
  • Sofia Polychronopoulou
    • 5
  • Eftichia Stiakaki
    • 6
  • Demosthenes Panagiotakos
    • 7
  • Eleni Petridou
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, School of MedicineUniversity of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.2nd Department of Pediatrics, AHEPA General HospitalAristotelion University of ThessalonikiThessaloníkiGreece
  3. 3.Department of Pediatric Haematology–Oncology“Pan. & Agl. Kyriakou” Children’s HospitalAthensGreece
  4. 4.Haematology–Oncology Unit, First Department of Pediatrics, Athens University Medical School“Aghia Sophia” Children’s HospitalAthensGreece
  5. 5.Department of Pediatric Haematology–Oncology“Aghia Sophia” Children’s HospitalAthensGreece
  6. 6.Department of Pediatric Hematology–OncologyUniversity of CreteHeraklion, CreteGreece
  7. 7.Department of Nutrition and DieteticsHarokopio UniversityAthensGreece

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