Objective: To investigate the occupational and environmental risk factors related to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).
Methods: A case-control study was performed during the 1992-1996 period in Languedoc-Roussillon, southern France. Four hundred and forty-five cases of histologically diagnosed NHL were declared. One thousand and twenty-five randomly selected population controls were interviewed about their medical histories; occupational exposures, such as chemicals, pesticides, and electromagnetic radiation; and toxic habits.
Results: The following factors were independently and significantly related to NHL as a result of the multivariate analysis: a previous hematopoietic malignancy (ORa = 11.5, 95% CI 2.4-55.4), a history of hives (ORa = 1.7, 95% CI 1.2-2.2), benzene exposure > 810 days (ORa = 4.6, 95% CI 1.1-19.2), daily welding (ORa = 2.5, 95% CI 1.2-5.0), and activity of radio operator (ORa = 3.1, 95% CI 1.4-6.6). To be an agricultural professional seemed slightly related to NHL in reference to non-professionals (ORa = 1.5, 95% CI 1.0-2.1). All of these results have also been adjusted for age, gender, education level, and urban setting.
Conclusions: As some of the reported associations were based on a very small proportion of exposed subjects, further investigations are necessary to confirm our results. However, the findings suggest that factors related to altered immune functions such as a history of hematopoietic malignancy, history of hives, occupational exposure to benzene, or being an agricultural professional might increase the risk of NHL. Currently, underlying mechanisms for these associations are still unclear, and further investigations focused on interactions between immunity alterations and different chemicals would be of great interest.