Skip to main content


CLIC answers the question
“Why do kids get cancer?”

Despite encouraging advances in treatment, childhood leukemia and cancer continue to take a heavy toll. Parents and researchers alike want to know the causes and whether prevention is possible. This is especially challenging for a set of diseases that are both very diverse and relatively rare. Which is why CLIC, with its advantages of scale, geographic spread and multi-disciplinary skills is uniquely placed to interrogate the most promising ideas.

Resolving why children get cancer is an ambitious but achievable goal. And one in which CLIC can play a pivotal role.

Professor Sir Mel Greaves, The Institute of Cancer ResearchLondon, England

Childhood cancer patients in CLIC

Childhood cancers are the leading cause of death due to disease in high-income countries, and they are a rising source of cause of death in low- and middle-income countries.

However, because childhood cancers are biologically different than adult cancers and are rare, investigating and identifying risk factors for them is very difficult. Also, the money spent by governments on childhood cancer research is a fraction of the amount spent on all cancer research.

While the causes of cancer in children are not fully understood, they likely involve both genes and environmental exposures, alone and in combination. CLIC is a large group of international researchers who are committed to sharing resources and pooling data to find out why kids get leukemias and other cancers. Understanding what causes childhood cancer is the critical first step towards prevention.

Our Story and Mission

In 2007, the Childhood Leukemia International Consortium (CLIC) was founded to overcome the limitations of individual case-control studies of pediatric leukemias; and in 2019, CLIC began to accept studies of childhood solid tumors and changed its name to the Childhood Cancer and Leukemia International Consortium while retaining its original acronym. CLIC’s mission is to develop and support collaborations among childhood cancer epidemiologists, clinicians, tumor biologists, geneticists, immunologists, toxicologists, and/or statisticians.

Together, these scientists evaluate factors that influence the risk of childhood cancer through epidemiologic studies, genomic studies, and related research. CLIC currently focuses on studying childhood leukemias, brain tumors, and embryonal tumors. Most of these studies have detailed epidemiologic data, and about half have biospecimens or existing genomic data. The immense wealth of available data provides CLIC the unique opportunity to assess the individual and interactive effects of genetic and environmental risk factors on childhood cancers.

Recent News

  • Missing Teeth and Cancer Risk
    Recently, CLIC partners, Drs. Jeremy Schraw and Philip Lupo, studied the relationship between missing teeth from birth (congenital tooth agenesis) and risk of cancer diagnosis before 40 years…
  • Hypertension and Antihypertensive Medication During Pregnancy
    Hypertension during pregnancy and preeclampsia can be harmful to both the mother and the unborn child. The impact of using antihypertensive medication to control these conditions during pregnancy…
  • Magnetic Fields and Risk of Childhood Cancer
    Concerns about electromagnetic fields (EMF) causing childhood leukemia have been investigated since the 1980’s.  Two of our CLIC partners from Italy recently published articles examining the effects of…