The t(14;18) chromosomal translocation is the most common cytogenetic abnormality in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), occurring in 70-90% of follicular lymphomas (FL) and 30-50% of diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL). Previous t(14;18)-NHL studies have not evaluated risk factors for NHL defined by both t(14;18) status and histology. In this population-based case-control study, t(14;18) status was determined in DLBCL cases using fluorescence in situ hybridization on paraffin-embedded tumor sections. Polytomous logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between a wide variety of exposures and t(14;18)-positive (N=109) and -negative DLBCL (N=125) and FL (N=318), adjusting for sex, age, race, and study center. Taller height, more lifetime surgeries, and PCB180 exposure were associated with t(14;18)-positivity. Taller individuals (third tertile vs. first tertile) had elevated risks of t(14;18)-positive DLBCL (odds ratio [OR] = 1.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1-3.0) and FL (OR=1.4, 95%CI 1.0-1.9) but not t(14;18)-negative DLBCL. Similar patterns were seen for individuals with more lifetime surgeries (13+ vs. 0-12 surgeries; t(14;18)-positive DLBCL OR=1.4, 95%CI 0.7-2.7; FL OR=1.6, 95%CI 1.1-2.5) and individuals exposed to PCB180 greater than 20.8 ng/g (t(14;18)-positive DLBCL OR=1.3, 95%CI 0.6-2.9; FL OR=1.7, 95%CI 1.0-2.8). In contrast, termite treatment and high alpha-chlordane levels were associated with t(14;18)-negative DLBCL only, suggesting that these exposures do not act through t(14;18). Our findings suggest that putative associations between NHL and height, surgeries, and PCB180 may be t(14;18)-mediated and provide support for case-subtyping based on molecular and histologic subtypes. Future efforts should focus on pooling data to confirm and extend previous research on risk factors for t(14;18)-NHL subtypes.
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