Background & aims: Increasing evidence points towards a role of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in causing malignant lymphomas. We pooled case-control study data to provide robust estimates of the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) subtypes after HCV infection.
Methods: The analysis included 7 member studies from the International Lymphoma Epidemiology Consortium (InterLymph) based in Europe, North America, and Australia. Adult cases of NHL (n = 4784) were diagnosed between 1988 and 2004 and controls (n = 6269) were matched by age, sex, and study center. All studies used third-generation enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays to test for antibodies against HCV in serum samples. Participants who were human immunodeficiency virus positive or were organ-transplant recipients were excluded.
Results: HCV infection was detected in 172 NHL cases (3.60%) and in 169 (2.70%) controls (odds ratio [OR], 1.78; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.40-2.25). In subtype-specific analyses, HCV prevalence was associated with marginal zone lymphoma (OR, 2.47; 95% CI, 1.44-4.23), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (OR, 2.24; 95% CI, 1.68-2.99), and lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma (OR, 2.57; 95% CI, 1.14-5.79). Notably, risk estimates were not increased for follicular lymphoma (OR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.65-1.60).
Conclusions: These results confirm the association between HCV infection and NHL and specific B-NHL subtypes (diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, marginal zone lymphoma, and lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma).