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Int J Epidemiol. 2007 Feb;36(1):110-6. Epub 2007 Jan 16.

Vaccination and the risk of childhood acute leukaemia: the ESCALE study (SFCE).

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INSERM U754, IFR69, 16 avenue Paul Vaillant-Couturier, F-94807 Villejuif Cedex, France.



In 2002, a poster alerted the French health authorities to the possibility that the risk of childhood leukaemia might be increased by hepatitis B vaccination. Elucidating the role of vaccination in the aetiology of childhood acute leukaemia (AL) was therefore included in the objectives of an ongoing national study.


The ESCALE study was a French national population-based case-control study conducted in France in 2003 and 2004 in order to investigate the role of infectious, environmental and genetic factors in four childhood neoplastic diseases (leukaemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma and brain tumour). The controls were randomly selected from the French population and age and gender frequency matched with the cases. A total of 776 cases of AL (91% of the eligible cases) and 1681 controls (71% of the eligible controls) were included. In a specific standardized telephone interview, which was the same for both the cases and controls, each mother was asked to read out her child's complete vaccination record.


No association between vaccination and the risk of childhood AL: acute lymphoblastic leukaemia or acute myeloblastic leukaemia was observed. No relationship between the risk of leukaemia and the type of vaccine, number of doses of each vaccine, total number of injections, total number of vaccine doses or number of early vaccinations was evidenced. No confounding factor was observed.


The study did not show any evidence of a role of vaccination in the aetiology of childhood leukaemia.

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