Blood transfusion history and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma: an InterLymph pooled analysis

Cancer Causes Control. 2019 Aug;30(8):889-900. doi: 10.1007/s10552-019-01188-w. Epub 2019 Jun 4.


Purpose: To conduct a pooled analysis assessing the association of blood transfusion with risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Methods: We used harmonized data from 13 case-control studies (10,805 cases, 14,026 controls) in the InterLymph Consortium. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using unconditional logistic regression, adjusted for study design variables.

Results: Among non-Hispanic whites (NHW), history of any transfusion was inversely associated with NHL risk for men (OR 0.74; 95% CI 0.65-0.83) but not women (OR 0.92; 95% CI 0.83-1.03), pheterogeneity = 0.014. Transfusion history was not associated with risk in other racial/ethnic groups. There was no trend with the number of transfusions, time since first transfusion, age at first transfusion, or decade of first transfusion, and further adjustment for socioeconomic status, body mass index, smoking, alcohol use, and HCV seropositivity did not alter the results. Associations for NHW men were stronger in hospital-based (OR 0.56; 95% CI 0.45-0.70) but still apparent in population-based (OR 0.84; 95% CI 0.72-0.98) studies.

Conclusions: In the setting of a literature reporting mainly null and some positive associations, and the lack of a clear methodologic explanation for our inverse association restricted to NHW men, the current body of evidence suggests that there is no association of blood transfusion with risk of NHL.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Etiology; Lymphoma; Pooled analysis; Transfusion.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Transfusion*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult