Risk factors for non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes defined by histology and t(14;18) in a population-based case-control study

Cindy M. Chang, Sophia S. Wang, Bhavana J. Dave, Smrati Jain, Mohammad A. Vasef, Dennis D. Weisenburger, Wendy Cozen, Scott Davis, Richard K. Severson, Charles F. Lynch, Nathaniel Rothman, James R. Cerhan, Patricia Hartge, Lindsay M. Morton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The t(14;18) chromosomal translocation is the most common cytogenetic abnormality in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), occurring in 70-90% of follicular lymphomas (FL) and 30-50% of diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL). Previous t(14;18)-NHL studies have not evaluated risk factors for NHL defined by both t(14;18) status and histology. In this population-based case-control study, t(14;18) status was determined in DLBCL cases using fluorescence in situ hybridization on paraffin-embedded tumor sections. Polytomous logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between a wide variety of exposures and t(14;18)-positive (N = 109) and -negative DLBCL (N = 125) and FL (N = 318), adjusting for sex, age, race, and study center. Taller height, more lifetime surgeries, and PCB180 exposure were associated with t(14;18)-positivity. Taller individuals (third tertile vs. first tertile) had elevated risks of t(14;18)-positive DLBCL (odds ratio [OR] = 1.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1-3.0) and FL (OR = 1.4, 95%CI 1.0-1.9) but not t(14;18)-negative DLBCL. Similar patterns were seen for individuals with more lifetime surgeries (13+ vs. 0-12 surgeries; t(14;18)-positive DLBCL OR = 1.4, 95%CI 0.7-2.7; FL OR = 1.6, 95%CI 1.1-2.5) and individuals exposed to PCB180 greater than 20.8 ng/g (t(14;18)-positive DLBCL OR = 1.3, 95%CI 0.6-2.9; FL OR = 1.7, 95%CI 1.0-2.8). In contrast, termite treatment and high alpha-chlordane levels were associated with t(14;18)-negative DLBCL only, suggesting that these exposures do not act through t(14;18). Our findings suggest that putative associations between NHL and height, surgeries, and PCB180 may be t(14;18)-mediated and provide support for case-subtyping based on molecular and histologic subtypes. Future efforts should focus on pooling data to confirm and extend previous research on risk factors for t(14;18)-NHL subtypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)938-947
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2011


  • case-control studies
  • diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
  • etiology
  • follicular lymphoma
  • lymphoma
  • non-Hodgkin
  • translocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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