Childhood cancer in relation to infections in the community during pregnancy and around the time of birth

Tibor A. Nyari, Heather O. Dickinson, Louise Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


In a retrospective cohort study of 404,106 live births in the northern region of England, 1975-1986, we investigated whether higher levels of community infections during the mother's pregnancy and in early life were risk factors for cancer, by diagnostic group (leukaemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, brain/spinal tumours, neuroblastoma, other tumours), diagnosed 1975-2001 under age 15 years. Logistic regression was used to relate risk to measures of community infections (measles, respiratory and other infections) in 3 prenatal and 2 postnatal quarters. There was an increased risk of Hodgkin's disease among children exposed around birth to higher levels of measles (odds ratio for trend = 2.3, 95% confidence interval 1.3-4.2, p = 0.01). For other diagnostic groups, there was no consistent evidence of an association between risk and exposure to infections. Although the significant association observed for Hodgkin's disease may be a chance finding, consequent to multiple hypothesis testing or the ecologic nature of the study, it is consistent with other recent epidemiologic results suggesting that the risk of Hodgkin's disease may be associated with exposure to infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)772-777
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - May 10 2003


  • Children's cancer
  • Epidemiology
  • Infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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