Risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in celiac disease

JAMA. 2002 Mar 20;287(11):1413-9. doi: 10.1001/jama.287.11.1413.


Context: Celiac disease is one of the most common lifelong disorders. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a possible complication of celiac disease and may lead to a large portion of lymphoma cases.

Objective: To quantify the risk for developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma of any primary site associated with celiac disease.

Design and setting: Multicenter, case-control study conducted between January 1996 and December 1999 throughout Italy.

Patients: Cases were older than 20 years (median, 57; range, 20-92 years) with non-Hodgkin lymphoma of any primary site and histological type and were recruited at the time of the diagnosis. Controls were healthy adults (2739 men and 2981 women) from the general population.

Main outcome measure: Positive test result for class A serum antiendomysial antibody.

Results: Celiac disease was diagnosed in 6 (0.92%) of 653 patients with lymphoma. Of the 6 cases, 3 were of B-cell and 3 were of T-cell origin. Four of 6 cases had lymphoma primarily located in the gut. In the control group, 24 (0.42%) had celiac disease. The odds ratio (adjusted for age and sex) for non-Hodgkin lymphoma of any primary site associated with celiac disease was 3.1 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3-7.6), 16.9 (95% CI, 7.4-38.7) for gut lymphoma, and 19.2 (95% CI, 7.9-46.6) for T-cell lymphoma, respectively. The risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma for the overall population, which was adjusted for age and sex, was 0.63% (95% CI, - 0.12% to 1.37%).

Conclusion: Celiac disease is associated with an increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, especially of T-cell type and primarily localized in the gut. However, the association does not represent a great enough risk to justify early mass screening for celiac disease.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Celiac Disease / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / epidemiology
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / etiology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / etiology*
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / epidemiology
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors