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Environment, Genetic Immunology and Childhood Cancer

Chapter

Abstract

Childhood cancers make up 1% of the total cancer burden. Despite their rarity, they cause highest disease mortality in childhood. Research on the etiology of childhood cancers has been hampered by small sample sizes, lack of appropriate controls, reliance on case-control studies and difficulties with the definition of environment and measurement of environmental exposures. Only few and small studies have explored gene and environment interactions in childhood cancers. Consistent epidemiologic associations with male sex, birth weight, maternal reproductive history, allergic and autoimmune disorders, and infection frequency in early childhood as well as HLA associations may be exploited to gain further insight into the etiology. Currently available data suggest the involvement of immune surveillance in the development of childhood leukemia. Genetic epidemiologic approach should provide clues for the genetic risk factors when larger national and international cohort studies are completed. These studies should ideally consider the strong sex effect, potential parental effects and environmental factors including prenatal environment.

Keywords

Gender effect Potential parental effects and environmental factors including prenatal environment Genetics Immune surveillance in the development of childhood leukemia 

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© Springer Science+ Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Program in Molecular Genetics and MicrobiologyStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental and Occupational HealthRobert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, Florida International UniversityMiamiUSA

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