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Reuters Health Information (2004-07-19): HCV infection tied to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma


HCV infection tied to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Last Updated: 2004-07-19 13:30:24 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection appears to almost double the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), US researchers report in the August 10th issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

Dr. Eric A. Engels of the National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland and colleagues note that studies have shown an elevated HCV prevalence in NHL patients, suggesting that the infection "increases NHL risk through chronic immune system stimulation."

To investigate further, the researchers conducted a population-based case-control study involving almost 1500 subjects.

In total 32 of 813 NHL cases (3.9%) and 14 of 684 controls (2.1%) had HCV infection (odds ratio, 1.97). Moreover, higher rates were seen for certain NHL subtypes including follicular (odds ratio, 2.46) and marginal zone (odds ratio, 3.99).

After adjustment for factors such as age, sex and race, the odds ratio remained similar at 1.89. This was also true after adjusting for injection and other drug use.

In fact, although 40% of controls who injected drugs had HCV, the odds ratio still was essentially unchanged at 1.87. Transfusion history also had no effect.

The researchers, who call for further studies, thus conclude that there is an association between HCV and NHL in the US and that "HCV infection may be cause of NHL."

Int J. Cancer 2004;111:76-80.

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