Objective: Tobacco use is the most prominent cause of respiratory cancers. Little is known, however, about the influence of smoking on hematolymphopoietic malignancies. To evaluate this relation, a population-based case-control study was carried out in 12 areas of Italy.
Methods: Detailed interviews on tobacco smoking habits were administered to 1450 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), 365 Hodgkin's disease (HD), 270 multiple myeloma (MM), and 649 leukemia (LEU) patients occurring from 1990 to 1993, and 1779 population controls.
Results: We found a slightly increased risk for NHL in smokers (odds ratio 1.2, 95% confidence interval 1.0-1.4 for ever smokers), but a consistent positive association was shown only for follicular NHL. In this subtype, a significant excess risk was observed for ever versus never smokers, after adjustment for gender, age, geographic residence, education, and respondent (OR = 1.8, 95%, CI 1.3-2.7), with a positive exposure-response gradient for smoking duration (p < 0.01). The risk for follicular NHL was significantly elevated only among women, with ever smokers showing OR = 2.3 (CI 1.4-3.8), while for men we found OR = 1.3 (CI 0.69-2.3). No major differences were shown according to age. Female subjects also showed significant positive exposure-response trends for duration.
Conclusion: Cigarette smoking could be a risk factor for follicular NHL among women. For HD, MM, or LEU, no clear association was observed.