The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes are candidate genetic susceptibility loci for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). We examined the effect of HLA-DP genetic variation on risk and evaluated its potential interaction with 4 proxies for early immune modulation, including measures of infectious exposures in infancy (presence of older siblings, daycare attendance, ear infections) and breastfeeding. A total of 585 ALL cases and 848 controls were genotyped at the HLA-DPA1 and DPB1 loci. Because of potential heterogeneity in effect by race/ethnicity, we included only non-Hispanic white (47%) and Hispanic (53%) children and considered these 2 groups separately in the analysis. Logistic regression analyses showed an increased risk of ALL associated with HLA-DPB1*01:01 (odds ratio [OR] = 1.43, 95% CI, 1.01-2.04) with no heterogeneity by Hispanic ethnicity (P = .969). Analyses of DPB1 supertypes showed a marked childhood ALL association with DP1, particularly for high-hyperdiploid ALL (OR = 1.83; 95% CI, 1.20-2.78). Evidence of interaction was found between DP1 and older sibling (P = .036), and between DP1 and breastfeeding (P = .094), with both showing statistically significant DP1 associations within the lower exposure categories only. These findings support an immune mechanism in the etiology of childhood ALL involving the HLA-DPB1 gene in the context of an insufficiently modulated immune system.
View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2012-01-404723
View details for Web of Science ID 000311619300021
View details for PubMedID 22923493