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Med Pediatr Oncol. 1997 Feb;28(2):92-7.

Langerhans cell histiocytosis: an exploratory epidemiologic study of 177 cases.

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Division of Hematology and Oncology, Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


There is little information available regarding epidemiologic risk factors for Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH). An exploratory investigation was conducted using information obtained from parents of 177 cases of LCH diagnosed before 21 years of age (median 2 years). Utilizing data available from the Children's Cancer Group, LCH cases were compared to two matched control groups including 614 patients diagnosed with a variety of childhood cancers and 318 community controls. Questionnaire data included information on demographics, prenatal and perinatal factors, complications in the neonatal period, environmental exposures, family medical history, and childhood exposures. Factors found to be statistically significantly associated with an increased risk of LCH included: maternal urinary tract infection during the index pregnancy, feeding problems during infancy, and blood transfusions during infancy. Use of supplemental vitamins was associated with a significantly decreased risk of LCH. Results from this exploratory study provide a basis for speculation on potential etiologic risk factors for LCH. Future epidemiologic investigations of LCH need to consider the presenting disease characteristics in assessing possible etiologic factors.

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