Nutrition in early life and risk of childhood leukemia: a case-control study in Greece

Andreas-Antonios Diamantaras, Nick Dessypris, Theodoros N. Sergentanis, Evangelos Ntouvelis, Fanni Athanasiadou-Piperopoulou, Margarita Baka, Ioanna Nixon, Maria Moschovi, Sophia Polychronopoulou, Eftichia Stiakaki, Demosthenes Panagiotakos, Eleni Petridou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: There is a paucity of findings concerning the role of diet in childhood leukemogenesis, whereas the results are equivocal and the studies heterogeneous with regard to food items examined. This case-control study investigates the association of childhood leukemia with food groups, macronutrient consumption, total energy intake and adherence to Mediterranean diet among children aged 5-14 years in Greece. Methods: A total of 139 consecutive, incident leukemia cases out of which 121 were acute lymphoblastic leukemia were derived from the Nationwide Registry for Childhood Hematological Malignancies along with one : one age- and gender-matched hospital controls. Information on socio-demographic, maternal and child variables and dietary habits was obtained through in-person interviews with the guardians/children. Multiple logistic regression was performed with adjustment for birth weight and possible confounding variables. Results: Higher consumption of added lipids was associated with an increased risk of childhood leukemia, whereas consumption of milk and dairy products with reduced risk. From the macronutrient analysis, a borderline trend linking high protein intake with reduced childhood leukemia risk was observed. Conclusion: Consumption of milk and dairy products in the first year of life may protect against childhood leukemia possibly through vitamin D actions, while added lipids may increase the risk through various mechanisms. These results offer a holistic evaluation of children's nutrition and suggest that dietary habits in the early years of life may contribute to the prevention of childhood leukemia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-124
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Causes Control
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2012


  • food group
  • diet
  • nutrition
  • macronutrients
  • child
  • leukemia


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