Personal sun exposure and risk of non Hodgkin lymphoma: a pooled analysis from the Interlymph Consortium

Int J Cancer. 2008 Jan 1;122(1):144-54. doi: 10.1002/ijc.23003.


In 2004-2007 4 independent case-control studies reported evidence that sun exposure might protect against NHL; a fifth, in women only, found increased risks of NHL associated with a range of sun exposure measurements. These 5 studies are the first to examine the association between personal sun exposure and NHL. We report here on the relationship between sun exposure and NHL in a pooled analysis of 10 studies participating in the International Lymphoma Epidemiology Consortium (InterLymph), including the 5 published studies. Ten case-control studies covering 8,243 cases and 9,697 controls in the USA, Europe and Australia contributed original data for participants of European origin to the pooled analysis. Four kinds of measures of self-reported personal sun exposure were assessed at interview. A two-stage estimation method was used in which study-specific odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for potential confounders including smoking and alcohol use, were obtained from unconditional logistic regression models and combined in random-effects models to obtain the pooled estimates. Risk of NHL fell significantly with the composite measure of increasing recreational sun exposure, pooled OR = 0.76 (95% CI 0.63-0.91) for the highest exposure category (p for trend 0.01). A downtrend in risk with increasing total sun exposure was not statistically significant. The protective effect of recreational sun exposure was statistically significant at 18-40 years of age and in the 10 years before diagnosis, and for B cell, but not T cell, lymphomas. Increased recreational sun exposure may protect against NHL.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sunlight*
  • Ultraviolet Rays