Risk Factors of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Expert Opin Med Diagn. 2011 Nov 1;5(6):539-550. doi: 10.1517/17530059.2011.618185.


INTRODUCTION: Despite decades of intensive research, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) remains poorly understood and is largely incurable. NHL is a heterogeneous group of malignancies with multiple subtypes, each of which has distinct morphologic, immunophenotypic, and clinical features. Identifying the risk factors for NHL may improve our understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms and have an impact on clinical practice. AREAS COVERED: This article provides a review of several aspects of NHL, including epidemiology and subtype classification, clinical, environmental, genetic, and genomic risk factors identified for etiology and prognosis, and available statistical and bioinformatics tools for identification of genetic and genomic risk factors from the analysis of high-throughput studies. EXPERT OPINION: Multiple clinical and environmental risk factors have been identified. However, they have failed to provide practically effective prediction. Genetic and genomic risk factors identified from high-throughput studies have suffered a lack of reproducibility. The identification of genetic/genomic risk factors demands innovative statistical and bioinformatics tools. Although multiple analysis methods have been developed, there is still room for improvement. There is a critical need for well-designed, prospective, large-scale pangenomic studies.