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Cancer Res. 2009 Aug 15;69(16):6482-9. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-4372. Epub 2009 Aug 4.

Atopic disease and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma: an InterLymph pooled analysis.

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University of New South Wales Cancer Research Center, Prince of Wales Clinical School and National Center in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, and Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.


We performed a pooled analysis of data on atopic disease and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) from 13 case-control studies, including 13,535 NHL cases and 16,388 controls. Self-reported atopic diseases diagnosed 2 years or more before NHL diagnosis (cases) or interview (controls) were analyzed. Pooled odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were computed in two-stage random-effects or joint fixed-effects models, and adjusted for age, sex, and study center. When modeled individually, lifetime history of asthma, hay fever, specific allergy (excluding hay fever, asthma, and eczema), and food allergy were associated with a significant reduction in NHL risk, and there was no association for eczema. When each atopic condition was included in the same model, reduced NHL risk was only associated with a history of allergy (OR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.68-0.94) and reduced B-cell NHL risk was associated with history of hay fever (OR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.77-0.95) and allergy (OR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.76-0.93). Significant reductions in B-cell NHL risk were also observed in individuals who were likely to be truly or highly atopic-those with hay fever, allergy, or asthma and at least one other atopic condition over their lifetime. The inverse associations were consistent for the diffuse large B-cell and follicular subtypes. Eczema was positively associated with lymphomas of the skin; misdiagnosis of lymphoma as eczema is likely, but progression of eczema to cutaneous lymphoma cannot be excluded. This pooled study shows evidence of a modest but consistent reduction in the risk of B-cell NHL associated with atopy.

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