Changing incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphomas in the United States

Cancer. 2002 Apr 1;94(7):2015-23. doi: 10.1002/cncr.10403.


Background: The incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) has been rising in many regions and populations during the last few decades. Data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program show that age-adjusted rates of NHL increased through the 1980s but leveled off in the 1990s.

Methods: To determine whether the incidence of NHL stabilized in all population subgroups, particularly in age-defined groups with distinctive risks of NHL, the authors investigated trends in NHL incidence among persons aged 0-14 years, 15-24 years, 25-34 years, 35-44 years, 45-54 years, 55-64 years, 65-74 years, and > 75 years by gender and race using 1973-1998 data from the SEER Program, which covered approximately 10% of the U.S. population. Joinpoint regression was used to assess changes in trends across the period.

Results: NHL incidence trends changed significantly among males aged 25-54 years, in whom rates began to decrease (6-16% per year) in the middle to late 1990s, as well as among most whites aged > or = 55 years, in whom rate increases slowed from 3-4% to 1-2% per year in the late 1980s. Incidence trends were steady in other groups, with uniform increases among whites aged 15-24 years (2-3% per year), women aged 25-54 years (1-6% per year), and blacks aged > or = 55 years (2-4% per year). Although recent age specific incidence rates were generally higher in males compared with females and in whites compared with blacks, among males aged 25-54 years, rates were significantly higher in black males compared with white males.

Conclusions: There have been changes in the demographic groups impacted by NHL. The trends for human immunodeficiency virus probably are related to recent decreases in NHL incidence among males aged 25-54 years. The rate change in the older white population is unexplained but represents both an alleviation of the burden of NHL in this population and a potential opportunity to generate hypotheses regarding risk factors for the development of NHL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Survival Rate
  • United States / epidemiology