The early onset of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) suggests that critical exposures occurring during pregnancy may increase risk. We investigated the effects of maternal coffee and tea consumption during pregnancy on ALL risk by pooling data from eight case–control studies participating in the Childhood Leukemia International Consortium.
Data on maternal coffee intake were available for 2,552 cases and 4,876 controls, and data on tea intake were available for 2,982 cases and 5,367 controls. Coffee and tea intake was categorized into 0, > 0–1, > 1–2, and > 2 cups/day, and covariates were combined and harmonized. Data on genetic variants in NAT2, CYP1A1, and NQO1 were also available in a subset. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using unconditional logistic regression, and linear trends across categories were assessed.
No association was seen with ‘any’ maternal coffee consumption during pregnancy, but there was evidence of a positive exposure–response; the pooled OR for > 2 cups/day versus none was 1.27 (95% CI 1.09–1.43), p trend = 0.005. No associations were observed with tea consumption. No interactions were seen between coffee or tea intake and age, maternal smoking or genotype, and there was little or no evidence that associations with coffee or tea differed among cases with and without chromosomal translocations.
Despite some limitations, our findings suggest that high coffee intake during pregnancy may increase risk of childhood ALL. Thus, current advice to limit caffeine intake during pregnancy to reduce risk of preterm birth may have additional benefits.