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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Mar;16(3):396-400. Epub 2007 Mar 2.

Sun exposure and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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  • 1Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Missenden Road, Camperdown 2050, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


It was initially hypothesized that sun exposure might cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) on the following grounds: its incidence was increasing in parallel with that of cutaneous melanoma; its risk was increased in those with a history of melanoma or other skin cancer; sun exposure causes immune suppression; and immunosuppression for other reasons is associated with an increased risk of NHL. The association of NHL with prior skin cancer has been found consistently in subsequent studies, but results of ecological analyses have only partially supported this hypothesis. Contrary to it, three recent studies of NHL in individuals found that risk decreased, generally by 25% to 40%, across categories of increasing total or recreational, but not occupational, sun exposure. One study, thus far reported only in abstract, showed the opposite. Production of vitamin D from sun exposure offers a plausible mechanism for protection against NHL by sun exposure. A recent study has found a reduced risk of NHL in people with a high dietary intake of vitamin D. Results of additional studies in individuals and a planned original-data meta-analysis of case-control studies should help to resolve the present conflicting results on sun exposure and NHL.

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