Ultraviolet radiation, dietary vitamin D, and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (United States)

Cancer Causes Control. 2006 Oct;17(8):1045-52. doi: 10.1007/s10552-006-0040-8.


Objective: Because of conflicting findings about the relationship between ultraviolet (UV) radiation and the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), we evaluated the risk of several indicators related to UV, including two not previously studied: dietary vitamin D, and ambient UV levels by residential location.

Methods: As part of a case-control study conducted in four Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries, we collected UV information from a self-administered questionnaire and computer-assisted personal interview with 551 NHL cases and 462 controls. We estimated the relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) from unconditional logistic regression models.

Results: Eye color, a marker of host susceptibility to UV, showed a decreasing risk gradient for lightest eyes (0.47) compared to darkest. Relative risks were in the range of 0.73-0.78 for participants reporting more hours in the mid-day summer sun. Use of sunlamps or tanning booths was associated with decreased risk (RR = 0.88), as was estimated overall ambient UV (RR = 0.76 per 50 RB-units) overall. Vitamin D intake from diet and supplements was not related to risk. Results were thus consistent for the various indicators, although some estimated risks were not statistically significant. Effects were generally similar for diffuse large B-cell (DLBCL) and follicular lymphomas.

Conclusion: These data suggest a slight protective effect of sunlight against NHL, and they agree with geographic patterns of NHL incidence observed in the US.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ultraviolet Rays*
  • United States
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology*


  • Vitamin D