Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in Children

A significantly increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is associated with in utero and early childhood exposure to pesticides, according to a report in the December 1st issue of Cancer. While the risk is well known for adults, according to the authors, this is the first study that provides evidence of risk among children.

Dr. Jonathan D. Buckley, from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and colleagues from the Children's Cancer Group compared data collected from 268 children with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or leukemia with data collected from a cohort of matched randomly selected controls.

Forty-nine of the 268 patients had lymphomatous leukemia. The remaining patients had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, 38% were lymphoblastic, 28% had Burkitt's lymphoma, 12% had non-Burkitt's lymphoma, and 19% had large cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

In telephone interviews, the researchers asked the mothers of the patients and the controls about pesticide exposure 1 month before the pregnancy, during the pregnancy and any pesticide exposure the child may have had subsequently.

Dr. Buckley's group found a significant association between non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and the use of pesticides in the home for most days (odds ratio 7.3). They also found an association between non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and pesticide exposure caused by professional exterminators (odds ratio 3.0) and from postnatal exposure (odds ratio 2.4).

Although Dr. Buckley and colleagues have demonstrated an association between pesticide exposure and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in children, they were unable to pinpoint any particular chemical agent.

Cancer 2000;89:2315-2321

Thanks to Reuters Health

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