Purpose: To investigate the association between alcohol consumption and the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and to examine whether the association is modified by a family history of hematolymphoproliferative cancer (HLPC).
Methods: Data on white men from two population-based case-control studies of NHL conducted in Iowa/Minnesota and Kansas were pooled for this analysis. Information on alcohol consumption, family history of HLPC, and other factors was obtained by interviewing 792 cases and 2193 controls or, if deceased, their next-of-kin. Logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results: There was no clear association between NHL and the use of alcohol, beer, hard liquor, or wine. The relationship, however, may differ according to a family history of HLPC. Alcohol use was not associated with the risk of NHL in men without a family history of HLPC (ORs = 0.8 and 0.9 for men consuming alcohol < or = median and > median, respectively), the presence of a family history in the absence of alcohol use was associated with a slightly increased risk (OR = 1.4; 95% CI 0.8-2.5), whereas risks of NHL among men with a positive family history were 2.1 (CI 1.0-4.7) for men consuming alcohol < or = median (13.7 g/day) and 2.8 (1.3-5.9) for men consuming alcohol greater than median.
Conclusions: The present data found no clear association between alcohol consumption and the risk of NHL among men without a family history of HLPC, whereas alcohol intake was associated an elevated risk in men with a positive family history. The finding of effect modification of the alcohol-NHL association by a family history of HLPC is novel and requires confirmation.