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Birth Characteristics and Childhood Leukemia Risk

Correlations With Genetic Markers

Kennedy, Amy E. PhD, MPH*; Kamdar, Kala Y. MD, MS; Lupo, Philip J. PhD, MPH; Okcu, Mehmet F. MD, MPH; Scheurer, Michael E. PhD, MPH; Dorak, Mehmet T. MD, PhD*

Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology: July 2015 - Volume 37 - Issue 5 - p e301–e307
doi: 10.1097/MPH.0000000000000347
Online Articles: Original Articles
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Birth characteristics such as birth order, birth weight, birth defects, and Down syndrome showed some of the first risk associations with childhood leukemia. Examinations of correlations between birth characteristics and leukemia risk markers have been limited to birth weight–related genetic polymorphisms. We integrated information on nongenetic and genetic markers by evaluating the relationship of birth characteristics, genetic markers for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) susceptibility, and ALL risk together. The multiethnic study consisted of cases with childhood ALL (n=161) and healthy controls (n=261). Birth characteristic data were collected through questionnaires, and genotyping was achieved by TaqMan SNP Genotyping Assays. We observed risk associations for birth weight over 4000 g (odds ratios [OR]=1.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16-3.19), birth length (OR=1.18 per inch; 95% CI, 1.01-1.38), and with gestational age (OR=1.10 per week; 95% CI, 1.00-1.21). Only the HFE tag single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs9366637 showed an inverse correlation with a birth characteristic, gestational age, with a gene-dosage effect (P=0.005), and in interaction with a transferrin receptor rs3817672 genotype (Pinteraction=0.05). This correlation translated into a strong association for rs9366637 with preterm birth (OR=5.0; 95% CI, 1.19-20.9). Our study provides evidence for the involvement of prenatal events in the development of childhood ALL. The inverse correlation of rs9366637 with gestational age has implications on the design of HFE association studies in birth weight and childhood conditions using full-term newborns as controls.

*Department of Epidemiology, Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, Florida International University, Miami, FL

Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology-Oncology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Present address: Mehmet T. Dorak, MD, PhD, School of Health Sciences, HCA EW 208, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool L16 9JD, United Kingdom.

Present address: Amy E. Kennedy, PhD, MPH, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 4E114, MSC 9763, Rockville, MD 20850.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Amy E. Kennedy, PhD, MPH, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 4E114, MSC 9763, Rockville, MD 20850 (e-mail: amy.kennedy@nih.gov).

Received April 1, 2014

Accepted March 26, 2015

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