Paternal intake of folate and vitamins B6 and B12 before conception and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Document Type

Journal Article


Kluwer Academic Publishers


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


Child Health Promotion Research Centre




This article was originally published as: Bailey H.D., Miller M., Greenop K.R., Bower C., Attia J., Marshall G.M., Armstrong B.K., Milne E. (2014). Paternal intake of folate and vitamins B6 and B12 before conception and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Cancer Causes and Control, 25(12), 1615-1625. Original article available here


Purpose: We investigated whether paternal dietary intake of folate before conception is associated with the risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in a nationwide case–control study.Methods: Data on dietary folate intake during the 6 months before the child’s conception were collected from 285 case fathers and 595 control fathers using a dietary questionnaire. Nutrient intake was quantified using a customized computer software package based on Australian food composition databases. Data on folate intake were analyzed using unconditional logistic regression, adjusting for study-matching variables, total energy, and potentially confounding variables. In a subset of 229 cases and 420 controls, data on vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 intake were also analyzed.Results: No consistent associations were seen with paternal dietary intake of folate or vitamin B6. Higher levels of paternal dietary vitamin B12 were appeared to be associated with an increased risk of childhood ALL, with those in the highest tertile of consumption having an OR of 1.51 (0.97, 2.36). The use of supplements containing folate and vitamins B6 or B12 was rare.Conclusions: We did not find any biologically plausible evidence that paternal nutrition in the period leading up to conception was associated with childhood ALL. Our finding for vitamin B12 may be a chance finding, given the number of analyses performed, or be attributable to participation bias because parents with a tertiary education had the lowest level of B12 intake and tertiary education was more common among control than case parents.



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