Menstrual and reproductive factors, and hormonal contraception use: associations with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in a pooled analysis of InterLymph case-control studies

Ann Oncol. 2012 Sep;23(9):2362-2374. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mds171. Epub 2012 Jul 10.


Background: The two most common forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) exhibit different sex ratios: diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) occurs more frequently in men and follicular lymphoma (FL) more frequently in women. Looking among women alone, this pooled analysis explores the relationship between reproductive histories and these cancers.

Materials and methods: Self-reported reproductive histories from 4263 women with NHL and 5971 women without NHL were pooled across 18 case-control studies (1983-2005) from North America, Europe and Japan. Study-specific odd ratios (ORs) and confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using logistic regression and pooled using random-effects meta-analyses.

Results: Associations with reproductive factors were found for FL rather than NHL overall and DLBCL. In particular, the risk of FL decreased with increasing number of pregnancies (pooled OR(trend) = 0.88, 95% CI 0.81-0.96). FL was associated with hormonal contraception (pooled OR = 1.30, 95% CI 1.04-1.63), and risks were increased when use started after the age of 21, was used for <5 years or stopped for >20 years before diagnosis. DLBCL, on the other hand, was not associated with hormonal contraception (pooled OR = 0.87, 95% CI 0.65-1.16).

Conclusions: Hormonal contraception is associated with an increased risk of FL but not of DLBCL or NHL overall.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / administration & dosage
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / etiology*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / physiopathology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Ovulation Inhibition*
  • Reproductive History*
  • Reproductive Physiological Phenomena


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal