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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Vitamin and mineral supplements in pregnancy and the risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: a case-control study

John D Dockerty1*, Peter Herbison1, David CG Skegg1 and Mark Elwood2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, PO Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand

2 BC Cancer Research Centre, Cancer Control Research, 675 West 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1L3, Canada

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BMC Public Health 2007, 7:136  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-136

Published: 3 July 2007

Abstract

Background

An earlier case-control study from Western Australia reported a protective effect of maternal folic acid supplementation during pregnancy on the risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). The present study tested that association.

Methods

A national case-control study was conducted in New Zealand. The mothers of 97 children with ALL and of 303 controls were asked about vitamin and mineral supplements taken during pregnancy.

Results

There was no association between reported folate intake during pregnancy and childhood ALL (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.5–2.7). Combining our results with the study from Western Australia and another study from Québec in a meta-analysis gave a summary OR of 0.9 (95% CI 0.8–1.1).

Conclusion

Our own study, of similar size to the Australian study, does not support the hypothesis of a protective effect of folate on childhood ALL. Neither do the findings of the meta-analysis.