Blood transfusion and non-Hodgkin lymphoma: lack of association

Ann Intern Med. 1997 Sep 1;127(5):365-71. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-127-5-199709010-00004.


Background: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the seventh most commonly diagnosed malignant condition worldwide, and its incidence has increased markedly in recent decades. Blood transfusions have been implicated as a possible risk factor for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Objective: To determine whether blood transfusions are associated with an elevated risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Design: Population-based, nested case-control study.

Setting: Nationwide cohort in Sweden.

Patients: 361 patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and 705 matched controls, nested within a population-based cohort of 96795 patients at risk for blood transfusion between 1970 and 1983. Prospectively collected information on exposure was retrieved from computerized transfusion registries.

Measurements: Odds ratios obtained from conditional logistic regression models were used as measures of relative risks.

Results: No association was found between blood transfusions and the risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma when patients who had received transfusions were compared with patients who had not received transfusions (odds ratio, 0.93 [95% CI, 0.71 to 1.23]). A reduction in risk was seen among persons who received transfusion of blood without leukocyte depletion (odds ratio, 0.72 [CI, 0.53 to 0.97]). Risk was not related to number of transfusions, and no interaction was seen with latency after transfusion.

Conclusion: The findings in this study do not support previous observations of an association between blood transfusions and the risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / etiology*
  • Male
  • Medical Record Linkage
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Registries
  • Risk
  • Sweden
  • Transfusion Reaction*