Coffee During Pregnancy May Increase Risk of Childhood Acute Leukemia

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Coffee may have many health benefits, including potential reductions in the risk of cancers of the liver and head and neck regions. But, there are downsides. Maternal coffee consumption during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of childhood acute leukemia (AL), according to a meta-analysis (study of studies) published in the February issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The Study: Jian Cheng, from Anhui Medical University in China, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to examine the correlation between maternal coffee consumption during pregnancy and childhood AL, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Included studies reported the odds ratios (OR) for childhood AL with respect to maternal coffee drinking in pregnancy.

Results: Based on meta-analysis of seven studies, the researchers found that the combined odds ratio relating to the relationship of maternal coffee consumption during pregnancy and childhood AL was 1.22 for ever drinkers; 1.16 for low to moderate-level drinkers; and 1.72 for high-level drinkers, compared with non- or the lowest-level drinkers. This means that the risk is 1.72 times greater for the children of high level consumers of coffee. 

Maternal coffee consumption (high-level drinkers vs. non- or the lowest-level drinkers) was statistically significantly associated with childhood ALL and AML (ORs, 1.65 and 1.58, respectively). There was a linear dose-response relationship for coffee consumption and childhood AL (P for nonlinearity = 0.68), including childhood ALL and AML.

“The findings of the meta-analysis suggest that maternal coffee consumption during pregnancy may increase the risk of childhood AL,” the researchers wrote.

I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

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Reference: Cheng J, Su H, Zhu R, et al. Maternal coffee consumption during pregnancy and risk of childhood acute leukemia: a metaanalysis. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2014;210:151.e1-10.

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understandcancerin60minutes

Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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