Skin cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: examining the link

Dermatol Surg. 2005 Jan;31(1):76-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2005.31013.


Background: The incidence rates of melanoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) have increased substantially worldwide over the past several decades. It has been hypothesized that ultraviolet light exposure through sunlight may be a common environmental risk factor shared by both skin cancer and NHL.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to better understand the association between skin cancer and NHL and to evaluate its implication in clinical practice.

Methods: We reviewed the current literature on the link between the two malignancies and on the role of ultraviolet light in the development of NHL. Publications were selected using a PUBMED search with the terms "non-Hodgkin's lymphoma" and "skin cancer." Epidemiologic studies in English and published after 1995 were the focus.

Conclusions: Large population-based studies support an increased risk of subsequent NHL among patients with skin cancers (both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers) and a risk of skin cancer development in patients with NHL, although support for a direct relationship between ultraviolet light and the incidence of NHL is weak and inconsistent. Given their increased risk of developing skin cancers, patients with a history of NHL may benefit from a full-body examination during their visits.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / etiology*
  • Melanoma / epidemiology
  • Melanoma / etiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*