Infant leukemia and congenital abnormalities: A Children's Oncology Group study

Kimberly J. Johnson, Michelle A. Roesler, Amy M. Linabery, Joanne M. Hilden, Stella M. Davies, Julie A. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background. Leukemia in infants is rare and has not been well studied apart from leukemia in older children. Differences in survival and the molecular characteristics of leukemia in infants versus older children suggest a distinct etiology, likely involving prenatal factors. Procedure. We examined the association between eight categories of maternally reported congenital abnormalities (CAs) (cleft lip or palate, spina bifida or other spinal defect, large or multiple birthmarks, other chromosomal abnormalities, small head or microcephaly, rib abnormalities, urogenital abnormalities, and other) and infant leukemia in a case-control study. The study included 443 cases diagnosed at <1 year of age at a Children's Oncology Group Institution in the United States or Canada from 1996 to 2006 and 324 controls. Controls were recruited from the cases' geographic area either by random digit dialing (1999-2002) or through birth certificates (2003-2008) and were frequency-matched to cases on birth year. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated by unconditional logistic regression after adjustment for birth year and a measure of follow-up time to account for differences in the CA observation period. Results. No statistically significant associations were observed between infant leukemia and any CA (OR=1.2; 95% CI: 0.8-1.9), birthmarks (OR=1.4; 95% CI: 0.7-2.5), urogenital abnormalities (OR=0.7; 95% CI: 0.2-2.0), or other CA (OR=1.4; 95% CI: 0.7-2.8). Results were similar for acute lymphoblastic and myeloid leukemia cases. Fewer than five subjects were in the remaining CA categories precluding analysis. Conclusions. Overall, we did not find evidence to support an association between CAs and infant leukemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-99
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 15 2010


  • Birth defects
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Infant leukemia
  • Risk factors


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