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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002 Apr;11(4):401-7.

Allergies and risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma by subtype.

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  • 1Division of General Preventive Medicine, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee 37208, USA.


To investigate the relation between allergy and risk for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), data were analyzed from the Selected Cancers Study. Cases (n = 952) were men ages 32-60 years diagnosed with NHL from 1984 to 1988 and identified by eight population-based United States cancer registries. Controls (n = 1691) were recruited by random-digit telephone dialing and frequency matched to cases by age and geographic region of cancer registry. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals adjusted for age, cancer registry, education, and race/ethnicity. There was no evidence that a general history of allergy was significantly associated with either overall NHL risk (odds ratio: 1.0; 95% confidence interval: 0.8-1.2) or risk for major NHL subtypes (follicular, diffuse, small cell lymphocytic, and immunoblastic). Similarly, no significant associations were observed for the most commonly reported specific allergies, including those to plants, dust, food, animals, and medications. Significant NHL subtype-specific associations were found for allergies to insects (immunoblastic) and chemicals (diffuse and small cell lymphocytic). However, these allergies were reported by relatively few study participants, and the associations may have been because of chance. In conclusion, we found little evidence that either a general history of allergy or commonly reported specific allergies are associated with NHL.

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