Parental educational attainment as an indicator of socioeconomic status and risk of childhood cancers

S. E. Carozza, S. E. Puumala, E. J. Chow, E. E. Fox, S. Horel, K. J. Johnson, C. C. McLaughlin, P. Reynolds, J. Von Behren, B. A. Mueller, L. G. Spector

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background:Little has been reported on socioeconomic (SES) patterns of risk for most forms of childhood cancer.Methods:Population-based case-control data from epidemiological studies of childhood cancer conducted in five US states were pooled and associations of maternal, paternal and household educational attainment with childhood cancers were analysed. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals were estimated using logistic regression, controlling for confounders.Results:Although there was no association with parental education for the majority of cancers evaluated, there was an indication of a positive association with lower education for Hodgkin's and Burkitt's lymphoma and Wilm's tumour, with the ORs ranging from 1.5 to 3.0 times that of more educated parents. A possible protective effect was seen for lower parental education and astrocytoma and hepatoblastoma, with ORs reduced by 30 to 40%.Conclusions:These study results should be viewed as exploratory because of the broad nature of the SES assessment, but they give some indication that childhood cancer studies might benefit from a more thorough assessment of SES.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-142
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 29 2010


  • childhood cancer
  • epidemiology
  • socioeconomic status


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