Results from previous investigations have shown associations between the risk of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and a history of autoimmune and atopic diseases, but it remains unknown whether these associations apply to all types of HL or only to specific subtypes. We investigated immune diseases and the risk of classical HL in a population-based case-control study that included 585 patients and 3,187 controls recruited from October 1999 through August 2002. We collected information on immune diseases through telephone interviews and performed serological analyses of specific immunoglobulin E reactivity. Tumor Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) status was determined for 498 patients. Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated using logistic regression analysis. Rheumatoid arthritis was associated with a higher risk of HL (odds ratio (OR) = 2.63; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.47, 4.70), especially EBV-positive HL (OR = 3.18; 95% CI: 1.23, 8.17), and with mixed-cellularity HL (OR = 4.25; 95% CI: 1.66, 10.90). HL risk was higher when we used proxies of severe rheumatoid arthritis, such as ever having received daily rheumatoid arthritis medication (OR = 3.98; 95% CI: 2.08, 7.62), rheumatoid arthritis duration of 6-20 years (OR = 3.80; 95% CI: 1.72, 8.41), or ever having been hospitalized for rheumatoid arthritis (OR = 7.36; 95% CI: 2.95, 18.38). Atopic diseases were not associated with the risk of HL. EBV replication induced by chronic inflammation in patients with autoimmune diseases might explain the higher risk of EBV-positive HL.
Keywords: Epstein-Barr virus; Hodgkin lymphoma; atopic hypersensitivity; primary Sjögren's syndrome; rheumatoid arthritis; systemic lupus erythematosus.
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