September: Childhood and Acute myeloid leukaemia Cancers Awareness Month

Childhood Cancer

Evidence suggests that exposure to smoking by family members during pregnancy or exposure to waterpipe and cigarette smoking during their neonatal period is a risk factor for developing cancer (1). Evidence supports a possible association between maternal smoking during pregnancy with childhood cancers overall (2), paediatric neuroblastoma (3), retinoblastoma, certain types of childhood brain tumours (4) and nervous system cancers (5). Paternal smoking was related to a significantly elevated risk of childhood lymphoblastic leukemia during pregnancy (6). 


1. Alyahya, Mohammad S., Nihaya A. Al-Sheyab, and Batool Amro. “Parental Smoking Behavior and Childhood Cancer: A Case-control Study.” American Journal of Health Behavior 44.5 (2020): 572-590.

2. Momen, Natalie C., et al. “Exposure to maternal smoking during pregnancy and risk of childhood cancer: a study using the Danish national registers.” Cancer Causes & Control 27.3 (2016): 341-349.

3. Chu P, Wang H, Han S, Jin Y, Lu J, Han W, Shi J, Guo Y, Ni X. Maternal smoking during pregnancy and risk of childhood neuroblastoma: Systematic review and meta-analysis. J Can Res Ther 2016;12:999

4. Heck, Julia E., et al. “Smoking in pregnancy and risk of cancer among young children: A population‐based study.” International journal of cancer 139.3 (2016): 613-616.

5. Rumrich, Isabell Katharina, et al. “Maternal smoking and the risk of cancer in early life–a meta-analysis.” PloS one 11.11 (2016): e0165040.

6. Chunxia, Dong, et al. “Tobacco smoke exposure and the risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia: A meta-analysis.” Medicine 98.28 (2019).

Acute myeloid leukaemia

Scientific research has confirmed cigarette smoking to be associated with an increased risk of developing myeloid leukaemia in adults (1-3). Smoking may result in an imbalance in the haematopoietic system such as changes in the erythrocyte–leukocyte ratio and composition of mature leukocytes in peripheral blood (4). Although no detailed biological mechanism has been proposed, a causal link has made the association of the systemic effects of cigarette smoke and the presence of chemicals in cigarette smoke and leukaemia risk, evident (5).


1. Qin, Ling, et al. “Relationship between cigarette smoking and risk of chronic myeloid leukaemia: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies.” Hematology 22.4 (2017): 193-200.

2. Vineis P, Veglia F, Garte S, et al. Genetic susceptibility according to three metabolic pathways in cancers of the lung and bladder and in myeloid leukemias in nonsmokers. Ann Oncol. 2007;18:1230–1242. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdm109

3. Lichtman MA. Cigarette smoking, cytogenetic abnormalities, and acute myelogenous leukemia. Leukemia. 2007;21:1137–1140. doi: 10.1038/sj.leu.2404698

4. Khaldoyanidi S, Sikora L, Orlovskaya I, et al. Correlation between nicotine-induced inhibition of hematopoiesis and decreased CD44 expression on bone marrow stromal cells. Blood. 2001;98:303–312. doi: 10.1182/blood.V98.2.303

5. Severson RK. Cigarette smoking and leukemia. Cancer. 1987;60:141–144. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19870715)60:2<141::AID-CNCR2820600202>3.0.CO;2-8

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