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History of Early Childhood Infections and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Risk Among Children in a U.S. Integrated Health Care System

Surrogate measures of infectious exposures have been consistently associated with lower childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) risk. However, recent reports have suggested that physician-diagnosed early-life infections increase ALL risk, thereby raising the possibility that stronger responses to infections might promote risk. We examined whether medically diagnosed infections were related to childhood ALL risk in an integrated health-care system in the United States. Cases of ALL (n = 435) diagnosed between 1994-2014 among children aged 0-14 years, along with matched controls (n = 2,170), were identified at Kaiser Permanente Northern California. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate risk of ALL associated with history of infections during first year of life and across the lifetime (up to diagnosis). History of infection during first year of life was not associated with ALL risk (odds ratio (OR) = 0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.60, 1.21). However, infections with at least 1 medication prescribed (i.e., more “severe” infections) were inversely associated with risk (OR = 0.42, 95% CI: 0.20, 0.88). Similar associations were observed when the exposure window was expanded to include medication-prescribed infections throughout the subjects’ lifetime (OR = 0.52, 95% CI: 0.32, 0.85).

Authors: Morimoto LM; Kwan ML; Deosaransingh K; Munneke JR; Kang AY; Quesenberry C; Kogan S; de Smith AJ; Metayer C; Wiemels JL

Am J Epidemiol. 2020 10 01;189(10):1076-1085.

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