May 8, 2010

Alcohol drinking during pregnancy raise risk of acute myeloid leukemia in children

LOS ANGELES, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Drinking alcohol during pregnancy could lead to acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in children, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the Research Center for Human Nutrition (RCHN) in France based their findings on analysis of 21 case control studies.

The study was published in the latest issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The study results showed that alcohol intake during pregnancy, defined as a response to a yes or no question, was associated with a 56 percent increased risk of AML in children.

The risk of AML was higher in children up to 4 years old at diagnosis, according to the study.

"Despite the current recommendation that pregnant women should not drink alcohol during pregnancy, alcohol consumption during pregnancy is 12 percent in the United States, 30 percent in Sweden, 52 percent in France, 59 percent in Australia and 60 percent in Russia," said Latino-Martel, research director of the RCHN.

Julie Ross, Ph.D., director of the division of pediatric epidemiology and clinical research at the University of Minnesota, said there are about 700 cases of AML in the United States in children each year.

"It's quite rare, so we want to be careful about worrying parents too much," said Ross, who was not involved in the study, but is an editorial board member of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers& Prevention.

She said these findings should strengthen the public health recommendation against alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

Editor: yan