Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia, and exposures in agriculture: results from the Italian multicenter case-control study

Am J Ind Med. 2003 Dec;44(6):627-36. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10289.


Background: The etiology of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and leukemia is still largely unknown, but exposure to chemicals, in particular pesticides, has been suggested to be a risk factor.

Methods: A large population-based case-control study was conducted in Italy with the aim of investigating the associations between pesticide exposure and NHL, and solvents and leukemia. Data presented in this article refer to 1,575 interviewed cases and 1,232 controls in the nine agricultural study areas.

Results: Exposure to nitro-derivatives and phenylimides among fungicides, hydrocarbon derivatives and insecticide oils among insecticides, and the herbicide amides are the chemical classes observed to be associated with the pathologies under investigation.

Conclusions: The results of the case-control study suggest an increased risk for NHL and leukemia, and some chemical classes of pesticides, although few are statistically significant and some are based on few exposed cases. The results also show that men and women experience both similar and different risks for the same environmental agricultural exposures. Am. J. Ind. Med. 44:627-636, 2003.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agriculture / statistics & numerical data*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Leukemia / epidemiology*
  • Leukemia / etiology*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*
  • Sex Factors
  • Solvents / adverse effects


  • Pesticides
  • Solvents