Role of hepatitis C virus infection in malignant lymphoma in Spain

Int J Cancer. 2004 Aug 10;111(1):81-5. doi: 10.1002/ijc.11727.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been implicated in the etiology of malignant lymphomas. We estimated the risk of lymphoma associated with detection of HCV infection. Cases (n = 529) were consecutive patients newly diagnosed with a lymphoid malignancy between 1998 and 2002 in 4 centers in Spain. Lymphomas were diagnosed and classified using the WHO Classification. Controls (n = 600) were hospitalized patients matched to the cases by 5-year age group, gender and study center. Several medical conditions associated with severe immunosuppression precluded the eligibility of controls. Patients underwent a personal interview and blood sampling. HCV positive subjects were considered those with antibody response to third generation ELISA or detection of HCV RNA with Amplicor 2.0. Cases were systematically tested for HIV antibodies. We used the chi(2) test and unconditional logistic regression to estimate the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) for lymphoma associated with HCV. HCV infection was detected in 40 cases (7.5%) and 23 (3.8%) control subjects. Six of 16 patients with HIV-related lymphomas and 4 of 8 organ-recipient-related lymphomas were HCV positive. The analysis, excluding HIV-infected subjects and organ recipients, led to a prevalence of HCV of 5.9% among cases and 3.8% among controls. The age-, gender- and center-adjusted OR for all lymphomas was 1.58 (95% CI = 0.89-2.79). Among all lymphoma categories, HCV was associated with an increased risk of low grade B-cell lymphomas not otherwise specified (NOS) (OR = 35.98, 95% CI = 4.70-275.4). A 2-fold excess risk associated to HCV was observed for marginal B-cell lymphomas, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and lymphoma B NOS but the associations were not statistically significant. HCV infection is associated with an increased risk of a broad spectrum of lymphoid neoplasms among non severely immunocompromised subjects in Spain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus / pathogenicity*
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / etiology*
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / virology*
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / etiology*
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / virology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology


  • DNA, Viral