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Blood. 2002 Jun 1;99(11):4240-2.

Prospective study of hepatitis C viral infection as a risk factor for subsequent B-cell neoplasia.

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  • 1Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20852, USA.


Several case-control studies have found increased prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and other B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders. We examined whether HCV infection preceded the development of these neoplasms in a prospective cohort study of 48 420 individuals in northern California. Stored sera from 95 subjects with NHL (n = 57), multiple myeloma (n = 24), or Hodgkin disease (n = 14) diagnosed a mean of 21 years after phlebotomy were screened for antibodies to HCV as well as viral RNA, based on previous reports of antibody-negative viremia. Sera from 4 cases and one of 95 age-, sex-, and race-matched controls were repeatedly reactive by enzyme immunoassay, but none were confirmed by recombinant immunoblot assay; none of the case sera had HCV RNA by reverse transcription- polymerase chain reaction. Although acquisition in later life cannot be ruled out, these prospective data do not support a substantial role of chronic HCV infection in the etiology of B-cell neoplasia.

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