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Blood. 2006 Aug 15;108(4):1363-9. Epub 2006 Apr 18.

Agricultural pesticide use and risk of t(14;18)-defined subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611-4402, USA.


Pesticides have been specifically associated with the t(14;18)(q32;q21) chromosomal translocation. To investigate whether the association between pesticides and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) differs for molecular subtypes of NHL defined by t(14; 18) status, we obtained 175 tumor blocks from case subjects in a population-based case-control study conducted in Nebraska between 1983 and 1986. The t(14;18) was determined by interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization in 172 of 175 tumor blocks. We compared exposures to insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fumigants in 65 t(14;18)-positive and 107 t(14;18)-negative case subjects with those among 1432 control subjects. Multivariate polytomous logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Compared with farmers who never used pesticides, the risk of t(14;18)-positive NHL was significantly elevated among farmers who used animal insecticides (OR = 2.6; 95% CI, 1.0-6.9), crop insecticides (OR = 3.0; 95% CI, 1.1-8.2), herbicides (OR = 2.9; 95% CI, 1.1-7.9), and fumigants (OR = 5.0; 95% CI, 1.7-14.5). None of these pesticides were associated with t(14;18)-negative NHL. The risk of t(14;18)-positive NHL associated with insecticides and herbicides increased with longer duration of use. We conclude that insecticides, herbicides, and fumigants were associated with risk of t(14;18)-positive NHL but not t(14;18)-negative NHL. These results suggest that defining subsets of NHL according to t(14;18) status is a useful approach for etiologic research.

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