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Reuters Health Information (2008-02-26): Hepatitis C confirmed as a risk factor for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma


Hepatitis C confirmed as a risk factor for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Last Updated: 2008-02-26 15:26:42 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Canadian researchers confirm an association between hepatitis C virus and the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, in a report in the February 1st issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

Dr. John J. Spinelli of the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver and colleagues note that studies have indicated that HCV may double the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. To investigate the situation in a specific area, the researchers conducted a population-based study in British Columbia, involving 795 case subjects and 697 controls.

Some 2.4% of the cases were seropositive for HCV compared to 0.7% of the controls (odds ratio 2.6). By subtype, the highest risks were for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (odds ratio, 7.3) and marginal zone lymphoma (odds ratio, 6.1).

The researchers note that the prevalence of HCV infection in the province, estimated to be about 1.5%, is nearly twice the national rate, "likely due to a high rate of injection drug use." Nevertheless, they point out, the NHL risk for HCV infection remained after adjusting for injection drug use.

Dr. Spinelli told Reuters Health a possible connection between HCV and NHL was first suggested in the 1990s and subsequent work has helped to confirm this. "Our study," he concluded, "provides further evidence that there is indeed an association between HCV infection and the risk of NHL."

Int J Cancer 2008;122:630-633.

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