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Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and autoimmunity: does gender matter?

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Publication details

JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
DatePublished - 15 Jul 2011
Issue number2
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)460-466
Original languageEnglish


Autoimmune disorders are more frequent in women, whereas most non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs) are common in men; yet, sex-specific autoimmune-lymphoma associations are rarely reported. Detailed data on autoimmune disease were abstracted from medical records of 791 cases (including 316 diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCLs); 228 follicular lymphomas (FLs); 127 marginal zone lymphomas (MZLs); 64 T-cell lymphomas and 38 mantle cell lymphomas) and 872 controls. The combined prevalence of autoimmune disease was higher among women (15.7% controls; 19.7% cases) than men (6.6% controls; 14.5% cases), but the overall association with NHL was stronger for men (odds ratio 2.4, 95% confidence interval: 1.5-3.8) than women (1.3, 0.9-1.9), the disparity persisting when data for the year immediately preceding lymphoma diagnosis were excluded (men 2.0, 1.3-3.3; women 1.2, 0.8-1.8). For both sexes, the strongest individual associations were for DLBCL, MZL and T-cell lymphomas, with no associations evident for FL. Among women, there were strong links between MZL and both Sjogren's syndrome and idiopathic thrombocytopenia, and among men, between DLBCL and both rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease. The expected association between coeliac disease and T-cell lymphoma was seen in both sexes. Our results add to the accumulating knowledge on this topic and suggest that future studies should analyze data for men and women separately.

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© 2010 UICC. Self-archiving of publisher's PDF not supported by the publisher.

    Research areas

  • autoimmune disease, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, medical records, case-control study, RHEUMATOID-ARTHRITIS, INFLAMMATORY DISORDERS, SEX-DIFFERENCES, RISK, MALIGNANCIES, DISEASES, CANCER, EPIDEMIOLOGY

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