Breastfeeding, Other Early Life Exposures and Childhood Leukemia and Lymphoma

Efrat Lev Amitay, Gal Dubnov Raz, Lital Keinan-Boker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ABSTRACT: Childhood cancer incidence increases and although rare, it is a leading cause of mortality. Leukemia and lymphoma comprise 40% of all cancers in children but little is known of their etiology. In this study, we examined the associations of breastfeeding and other early life exposures with childhood leukemia and lymphoma. A population-based case–control study carried out in 2011–2013 comprised mothers of 190 incidents (2005–2013) of leukemia/lymphoma cases aged 1–19 yr at diagnosis and 384 population-based controls. Interviews based on a computerized structured questionnaire were conducted with the mothers. Multivariate logistic regression models adjusted for potential confounders assessed the association between breastfeeding patterns and childhood leukemia/lymphoma. Ever breastfeeding category was associated with a 64% decreased risk for childhood leukemia/lymphoma lsqb;odds ratio (OR) = 0.36, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.22, 0.60lrqb; and similar trends, with a dose–response effect, were observed for any breastfeeding (exclusive and/or partial) category for 6, 12, and 18+ mo. Other infant exposures associated with cancer risk were child iron supplementation (OR = 0.39, 95% CI: 0.26, 0.59), pet ownership (OR = 0.50, 95% CI: 0.33, 0.78), paternal smoking (OR = 1.93, 95% CI: 1.18, 3.15), and having older siblings (OR = 1.18, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.33). Breastfeeding—a controllable and modifiable exposure—is inversely associated with risk for childhood leukemia and lymphoma with a dose–response effect.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)968-977
Number of pages10
JournalNutrition and Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - 17 Aug 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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