Childhood cancer in relation to parental race and ethnicity a 5-state pooled analysis

Eric J. Chow, Susan E. Puumala, Beth A. Mueller, Susan E. Carozza, Erin E. Fox, Scott Horel, Kimberly J. Johnson, Colleen C. McLaughlin, Peggy Reynolds, Julie Von Behren, Logan G. Spector

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Children of different racial/ethnic backgrounds have varying risks of cancer. However, to the authors' knowledge, few studies to date have examined cancer occurrence in children of mixed ancestry. METHODS: This population-based case-control study examined cancer among children aged <15 years using linked cancer and birth registry data from 5 US states from 1978 through 2004. Data were available for 13,249 cancer cases and 36,996 controls selected from birth records. Parental race/ethnicity was determined from birth records. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association of cancer with different racial/ethnic groups. RESULTS: Compared with whites, blacks had a 28% decreased risk of cancer (odds ratio [OR], 0.72; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.65-0.80), whereas both Asians and Hispanics had an approximate 15% decrease. Children of mixed white/black ancestry also were found to be at decreased risk (OR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.56-0.90), but estimates for mixed white/Asian and white/Hispanic children did not differ from those of whites. Compared with whites: 1) black and mixed white/black children had decreased ORs for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (OR, 0.39 [95% CI, 0.31-0.49] and OR, 0.58 [95% CI, 0.37-0.91], respectively); 2) Asian and mixed white/Asian children had decreased ORs for brain tumors (OR, 0.51 [95% CI, 0.39-0.68] and OR, 0.79 [95% CI, 0.54-1.16], respectively); and 3) Hispanic and mixed white/Hispanic children had decreased ORs for neuroblastoma (OR, 0.51 [95% CI, 0.42-0.61] and OR, 0.67 [95% CI, 0.50-0.90], respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Children of mixed ancestry tend to have disease risks that are more similar to those of racial/ ethnic minority children than the white majority group. This tendency may help formulate etiologic studies designed to study possible genetic and environmental differences more directly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3045-3053
Number of pages9
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2010


  • Child
  • Ethnicity
  • Neoplasms/epidemiology
  • Race
  • Risk factors


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