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Int J Cancer. 2007 May 15;120(10):2271-4.

Atopy, exposure to pesticides and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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  • 1National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, 2376 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Australia.


Pesticide exposure has been associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) risk in a number of studies, and two recent studies suggest that the increased risk may be confined to those with a history of asthma. We examined the interaction between occupational pesticide exposure and atopy on risk of NHL in an Australian population-based case-control study. Incident cases (n = 694) were diagnosed in New South Wales or the Australian Capital Territory between 2000 and 2001 and controls (n = 694) were randomly selected from electoral rolls and frequency-matched to cases by age, sex and state of residence. Occupational pesticide exposure was determined by an expert occupational hygienist's assessment of job-specific questionnaires administered by telephone. History of atopy (asthma, hay fever, eczema and food allergy) was self-reported. Logistic regression models included the three matching variables, ethnicity and sun exposure. The OR for NHL with substantial pesticide exposure and any history of asthma was 3.07 (95% CI 0.55-17.10) and with substantial pesticide exposure and no asthma history it was 4.23 (95% CI 1.76-10.16). The p-value for interaction was 0.29. A similar pattern of risk was observed for each of the pesticide subtypes; for asthma at various times of life; for hay fever, eczema, food allergy and any atopy, in men only and for follicular lymphomas only. Although this study had limited power, the findings do not suggest modification of the association between pesticide exposure and NHL risk by asthma or atopic disease more generally.

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