Diagnostic X-Ray Exposure Linked to Childhood Leukemia

Exposure tied to B-cell acute lymphoid leukemia but not acute myeloid leukemia or T-cell ALL
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Postnatal diagnostic X-ray exposure may be associated with an increased risk of childhood acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL), specifically B-cell ALL, according to a study published online Oct. 1 in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

In a case-control study, Karen Bartley, of the University of California at Berkeley, and colleagues evaluated children aged 0 to 14 years diagnosed with ALL or acute myeloid leukemia (AML) between 1995 and 2008.

After excluding X-rays in the year prior to diagnosis, the investigators found that the risk of ALL was increased in children exposed to three or more postnatal X-rays (odds ratio [OR], 1.85). Among patients with B-cell ALL, any exposure (one or more X-rays) was associated with an increased risk of disease (OR, 1.40). The investigators found no association between the number of postnatal X-rays and AML (OR, 1.05) or T-cell ALL (OR, 0.84).

"In summary, the results of this study provide support for a modest association of postnatal X-ray exposures with childhood ALL, specifically B-cell ALL, and suggest that the risk increases with increasing number of postnatal X-rays," the authors write. "Similar increased risk was not observed for either AML or T-cell ALL, nor for exposures received during the preconception and prenatal periods."

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