Scientific article
Open access

Birth characteristics and childhood leukemia in Switzerland: a register-based case-control study

Published inCCC, Cancer causes & control, vol. 32, no. 7, p. 713-723
Publication date2021-07
First online date2021-04-20

Purpose: Initial genetic alterations in the development of childhood leukemia occur in utero or before conception; both genetic and environmental factors are suspected to play a role. We aimed to investigate the associations between childhood leukemia and perinatal characteristics including birth order, birth interval to older siblings, parental age, birth weight, and multiple birth.

Methods: We identified cases diagnosed between 1981 and 2015 and born in Switzerland between 1969 and 2015 from the Swiss Childhood Cancer Registry and randomly sampled five controls per case from national birth records matched on date of birth, sex, and municipality of residence at birth. We used conditional logistic regression to investigate associations between perinatal characteristics and leukemia at ages 0-15 and 0-4 years, and the subtypes acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Results: The study included 1,403 cases of leukemia. We observed increased risks associated with high birth weight (adjusted OR 1.37, 95% CI 1.12-1.69) and multiple birth (1.89, 1.24-2.86). These associations were similar for ALL and stronger for leukemia at ages 0-4 years. For AML, we observed an increased risk for higher birth order (3.08, 0.43-22.03 for fourth or later born children). We found no associations with other perinatal characteristics.

Conclusion: This register-based case-control study adds to the existing evidence of a positive association between high birth weight and risk of childhood leukemia. Furthermore, it suggests children from multiple births are at an increased risk of leukemia.

  • Birth weight
  • Epidemiology
  • Maternal age
  • Parity
  • Paternal age
  • Twins
  • Adolescent
  • Birth Order
  • Birth Weight
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / epidemiology
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / etiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multiple Birth Offspring
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / epidemiology
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / etiology
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
Citation (ISO format)
LUPATSCH, Judith E et al. Birth characteristics and childhood leukemia in Switzerland: a register-based case-control study. In: CCC, Cancer causes & control, 2021, vol. 32, n° 7, p. 713–723. doi: 10.1007/s10552-021-01423-3
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
Secondary files (1)
ISSN of the journal0957-5243

Technical informations

Creation10/12/2021 7:50:00 AM
First validation10/12/2021 7:50:00 AM
Update time03/16/2023 1:55:48 AM
Status update03/16/2023 1:55:47 AM
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