Cigarette Smoking

Although a few past studies suggested an association with maternal smoking during pregnancy, the majority of studies (many of them sufficiently large enough with adequate statistical power) have not found an association.24,26-33 By and large, it can be concluded that maternal smoking during pregnancy is a negligible risk factor for childhood leukemia. In contrast, the data concerning paternal smoking are less conclusive. There have been at least three studies that have suggested a positive association with paternal smoking around the time of pregnancy and childhood acute leukemia, although one very large study of over 1800 children with ALL and 500 children with AML reported no association.32-35 It is difficult to understand the underlying biology that would explain a more powerful association with paternal smoking than maternal smoking, although it is possible that germ cell mutations that would develop before conception might explain this association. With the exception of identified genetic syndromes, however, no studies to date have suggested that childhood leukemia is the result of a parental germ cell mutation.

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