Background: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is the fifth most common cancer in the U.S. and few causes have been identified. Genetic association studies may help identify environmental risk factors and enhance our understanding of disease mechanisms.
Methodology/principal findings: 768 coding and haplotype tagging SNPs in 146 genes were examined using Illumina GoldenGate technology in a large population-based case-control study of NHL in the San Francisco Bay Area (1,292 cases 1,375 controls are included here). Statistical analyses were restricted to HIV- participants of white non-Hispanic origin. Genes involved in steroidogenesis, immune function, cell signaling, sunlight exposure, xenobiotic metabolism/oxidative stress, energy balance, and uptake and metabolism of cholesterol, folate and vitamin C were investigated. Sixteen SNPs in eight pathways and nine haplotypes were associated with NHL after correction for multiple testing at the adjusted q<0.10 level. Eight SNPs were tested in an independent case-control study of lymphoma in Germany (494 NHL cases and 494 matched controls). Novel associations with common variants in estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1) and in the vitamin C receptor and matrix metalloproteinase gene families were observed. Four ESR1 SNPs were associated with follicular lymphoma (FL) in the U.S. study, with rs3020314 remaining associated with reduced risk of FL after multiple testing adjustments [odds ratio (OR) = 0.42, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.23-0.77) and replication in the German study (OR = 0.24, 95% CI = 0.06-0.94). Several SNPs and haplotypes in the matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP3) and MMP9 genes and in the vitamin C receptor genes, solute carrier family 23 member 1 (SLC23A1) and SLC23A2, showed associations with NHL risk.
Conclusions/significance: Our findings suggest a role for estrogen, vitamin C and matrix metalloproteinases in the pathogenesis of NHL that will require further validation.