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OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis of an association between neonatal intramuscular vitamin K and childhood leukaemia and other cancers. DESIGN: Population based case-control study with data abstracted from hospital records. SETTING: Scotland. SUBJECTS: Children aged 0-14 years resident in Scotland from 1991-4 and diagnosed with leukaemia (150), lymphomas (46), central nervous system tumours (79), a range of other solid tumours (142), and a subset of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (129). Controls were 777 children matched for age and sex, providing 417 matched sets (360 triplets and 57 pairs) for analysis. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Odds ratios for the risk of childhood leukaemia and cancer and intramuscular vitamin K versus a combined group of oral doses, none, and no record. Results are given for information recorded in medical notes and data supplemented by hospital policy. RESULTS: Odds ratios based on medical record abstractions showed no significant positive association for leukaemias (odds ratio 1.30; 95% confidence interval 0.83 to 2.03), acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (1.21; 0.74 to 1.97), lymphomas (1.06; 0.46 to 2.42), central nervous system tumours (0.74; 0.40 to 1.34), and other solid tumours (0.59; 0.37 to 0.96). There was no association with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in children aged 1 to 6 years. Imputation of exposure from hospital policy gave similar results. Adjustment for deprivation and type of delivery moved risk estimates closer to unity for all major diagnostic groups. CONCLUSIONS: The observation of an increased risk of childhood leukaemia and cancer associated with intramuscular vitamin K is not confirmed by this independent population based study.


Journal article



Publication Date





173 - 177


Adolescent, Case-Control Studies, Child, Child, Preschool, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Injections, Intramuscular, Leukemia, Neoplasms, Odds Ratio, Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma, Scotland, Vitamin K, Vitamin K Deficiency