Evaluation of the Association Between Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection and Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Jennifer M. Geris, Mark R. Schleiss, Anthony J. Hooten, Erica Langer, Nelmary Hernandez-Alvarado, Michelle A. Roesler, Jeannette Sample, Lindsay A. Williams, David S. Dickens, Rajen J. Mody, Yaddanapudi Ravindranath, Kate L. Gowans, Matthew G. Pridgeon, Logan G. Spector, Heather H. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Importance: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common form of pediatric cancer, and a leading cause of death in children. Understanding the causes of pediatric ALL is necessary to enable early detection and prevention; congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) has recently been identified as a potential moderate-to-strong factor associated with risk for ALL. Objective: To compare the prevalence of cCMV infection between ALL cases and matched controls. Design, Setting, and Participants: In this population-based case-control study of ALL cases and matched controls, cases consisted of children aged 0 to 14 years between 1987 and 2014 with an ALL diagnosis identified through the Michigan Cancer Surveillance Program and born in Michigan on or after October 1, 1987. Cancer-free controls were identified by the Michigan BioTrust for Health and matched on age, sex, and mother's race and ethnicity. Data were analyzed from November to May 2022. Exposures: cCMV infection measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction in newborn dried blood spots. Main Outcomes and Measures: ALL diagnosed in children aged 0 to 14 years. Results: A total of 1189 ALL cases and 4756 matched controls were included in the study. Bloodspots were collected from participants at birth, and 3425 (57.6%) participants were male. cCMV was detected in 6 ALL cases (0.5%) and 21 controls (0.4%). There was no difference in the odds of cCMV infection comparing ALL cases with controls (odds ratio, 1.30; 95% CI, 0.52-3.24). Immunophenotype was available for 536 cases (45.1%) and cytogenetic data for 127 (27%). When stratified by subtype characteristics, hyperdiploid ALL (74 cases) was associated with 6.26 times greater odds of cCMV infection compared with unmatched controls (95% CI, 1.44-27.19). Conclusions and Relevance: In this case-control study of cCMV and pediatric ALL, cCMV was associated with increased risk of hyperdiploid ALL. These findings encourage continued research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e2250219
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2023

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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