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Int J Cancer. 2007 Aug 15;121(4):819-24.

Allergy and risk of childhood leukaemia: results from the UKCCS.

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1
Epidemiology and Genetics Unit, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, United Kingdom.

Abstract

We investigated the relationship between childhood leukaemia and preceding history of allergy. A nationwide case-control study of childhood cancers was conducted in the United Kingdom with population-based sampling of cases (n = 839) and controls (n = 1,337), matched on age, sex and region of residence. Information about clinically diagnosed allergies was obtained from primary care records. More than a third of subjects had at least one allergy diagnosed prior to leukaemia diagnosis (cases) or pseudo-diagnosis (controls). For both total acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and common-ALL/precursor B-cell ALL (c-ALL), a history of eczema was associated with a 30% significant reduction in risk: the odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were 0.70 (0.51-0.97) and 0.68 (0.48-0.98), respectively. Similar associations were observed for hayfever (OR = 0.47; 95% CI: 0.26-0.85 and OR = 0.62; 95% CI: 0.33-1.16 for ALL and c-ALL, respectively). No such patterns were seen either for asthma and ALL, or for any allergy and acute myeloid leukaemia. A comparative analysis of primary care records with parents recall of allergy revealed only moderate agreement with contemporaneous clinical diagnoses for both cases and controls--confirming the unreliability of parental report at interview. Our finding of a reciprocal relationship between allergy and ALL in children is compatible with the hypothesis that a dysregulated immune response is a critical determinant of childhood ALL.

PMID:
17390373
DOI:
10.1002/ijc.22702
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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