Reuters Health Information (2005-07-01): Smoking and HCV infection increase the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Smoking and HCV infection increase the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Last Updated: 2005-07-01 15:41:42 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Results of an Italian
case-control study confirm that heavy smoking doubles the risk of
developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The study also shows that
hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive individuals who are heavy smokers have
an approximately 4-fold elevated risk of NHL.
"Smoking is a well-documented risk factor for several cancers, but
the role of cigarette smoking in the etiology of NHL is inadequately
understood," lead researcher Dr. Renato Talamini from the National
Cancer Institute in Aviano told Reuters Health. HCV has been associated
with NHL, he noted, but the interplay between tobacco use and HCV has
not been studied.
Dr. Talamini and his colleagues studied relationships between HCV,
smoking habits and NHL in 225 consecutive patients hospitalized with a
new diagnosis of NHL and 504 matched control patients hospitalized for
a wide range of acute, non-neoplastic, non-immune, non-tobacco-related
Compared with never smokers, current smokers of 20 or more
cigarettes per day had an odds ratio for NHL of 2.10, the investigators
report in the July 1st issue of the International Journal of Cancer.
This finding was consistent for both sexes and all age groups.
The odds ratio for NHL was 2.64 for HCV seropositivity.
"The effects of tobacco smoking and HCV infection seemed to act
independently on NHL risk, leading to a grossly elevated risk for heavy
smokers who are HCV positive," Dr. Talamini told Reuters Health.
"Tobacco and HCV seem to act at different stages of the process of NHL
Summing up, the researcher noted that about 5% to 10% of NHL cases
could be prevented by persuading people to quit smoking and by
integrated policies and health programmes aimed at reducing HCV
"Health professionals could play a key role in reducing NHL
incidence in the population," Dr. Talamini contends, by promoting
healthy lifestyles and behaviours, engaging in anti-smoking campaigns,
providing support for people who are quitting, and, in the absence of
proven HCV vaccine, promoting interventions against risky behaviours
including intravenous drug use and unprotected sexual intercourse.
Int J Cancer 2005;115:606-610.