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Birth characteristics and risk of lymphoma in young children

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Lymphoma is the third most common childhood malignancy and comprises two types, Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The etiology of pediatric lymphomas is largely unknown, but has been suggested to have prenatal origins.


In this population-based study, California birth certificates were identified for 478 lymphoma cases diagnosed in children 0-5 years of age between 1988 and 2007; 208,015 controls frequency-matched by birth year were randomly selected from California birth records.


Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanic children had an increased risk of HL (odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.43 [1.14, 5.17]), and in particular, were diagnosed more often with the mixed cellularity subtype. For all types of lymphoma, we observed an about twofold risk increase with indicators for high risk pregnancies including tocolysis, fetopelvic disproportion and previous preterm birth. NHL risk doubled with the complication premature rupture of membranes (OR and 95% CI 2.18 [1.12, 4.25]) and HL with meconium staining of amniotic fluids (OR and 95% CI 2.55 [1.01, 6.43]).


These data support previously reported associations between Hispanic ethnicity and HL and suggest that pregnancy related factors, such as intra-uterine infections and factors associated with preterm labor, may be involved in lymphoma pathogenesis.

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