We performed a pooled analysis of data on atopic disease and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) from 13 case-control studies, including13,535 NHL cases and 16,388 controls. Self-reported atopic diseases diagnosed two or more years before NHL diagnosis (cases) or interview (controls) were analyzed. Pooled odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals were computed in two-stage random-effects or joint fixed-effects models, adjusted for age, sex, and study center. When modeled individually, lifetime history of asthma, hay fever, a 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 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 demonstrates evidence of a modest but consistent reduction in the risk of B-cell NHL associated with atopy.
Keywords: non-Hodgkin lymphoma, atopy, case-control, pooled analysis, risk