1. Via Trento 11, Santa Venerina, CT, Italy.
Nutrition plays a crucial role in wellbeing and is being increasingly recognised as an environmental factor in the development of disease. During pregnancy, maternal diet influences foetal development, playing a role not only in the prevention of neural tube defects and malformations, but also in the susceptibility to disease later in life. Certain micronutrients, such as folates, are involved in the maintenance of genome integrity, which is compromised in cancer. A deficiency in these nutrients can therefore be relevant in carcinogenic processes. The early onset of childhood leukaemia implies that it originates already in utero, where environmental factors can interfere with the healthy development of the foetus. Population studies have found an association between maternal intake of folic acid and multivitamins and a reduced risk in the development of leukaemia in the offspring. Although the supplementation of vitamins is recommended during pregnancy, the adequate dosage and nutrient combinations need to be further elucidated to fully maximise their protective role.
Keywords: Leukaemia, childhood leukaemia, childhood cancer, nutrition, pregnancy, folate, diet, micronutrients