Table 1

Findings from previous studies reporting associations between allergy and NHLa

ReferenceStudy typeHistologyAllergy typeRR/ORb (95% CI)Commentsc
McCormick et al. (22) (1971)Case control (HB)Lympho-sarcomaNonspecific1.2 (0.4–4.1)dNonspecific allergy includes “hives, asthma, hay fever, contact dermatitis, angioneurotic edema, food allergy, childhood eczema, or drug reactions.” Matching on age (range unspecified) and sex; OR unadjusted.
Bernard et al. (14) (1984)Case control (HB)NHL, HD, lymphoid leukemiaContact dermatitis2.0 (0.5–7.9)Matching on age (range unspecified), sex, and geographic region; ORs unadjusted.
Eczema4.5 (1.4–14.3)
Eczema + contact dermatitis3.8 (1.6–9.1)
Tielsch et al. (21) (1987)Case control (HB)NHLCumulative allergy index1.3 (0.6–2.8)Directly interviewed cases and controls matched on age, sex, race, and year of diagnosis; unadjusted OR for index defined by total number of allergic conditions, including specific allergies (drugs, food, insect stings, and other), hay fever, asthma, eczema, hives, and history of injection therapy for allergies.
McWhorter et al. (12) (1988)ProspectiveLymphoma leukemia, myelomaNonspecific3.8 (1.6–9.5)Self-reported data for “physician-diagnosed” allergic conditions from NHANESI; nonspecific allergy includes “asthma, hay fever, hives, food allergy, or other allergies.” RRs adjusted for age, sex, race, and smoking status. RR for any hives, unqualified by physician diagnosis: 7.4 (2.6–21.3).
Hives (any)7.9 (3.1–19.9)
Hives (≥5 yr)9.3 (3.7–23.6)
Cartwright et al. (13) (1988)Case control (HB)NHLNonspecific<2.0 (ns)Self-reported data “cross-checked with both hospital records and general practitioner notes.” Matching on age (+/− 3 yrs), sex, and residential health district; ORs for nonspecific and specific allergies reported as “nonsignificant results with risk ratios under 2.0” stratified by age (15–64 yr, ≥65 yr) and sex; OR for eczema dermatitis unadjusted, but “stratification of analyses confirm these findings, although smaller numbers in certain subgroups do not achieve statistical significance.”
Food<2.0 (ns)
Medication<2.0 (ns)
Metals<2.0 (ns)
Pollen/dust<2.0 (ns)
Soap<2.0 (ns)
Sunlight<2.0 (ns)
Eczema dermatitis1.6 (1.1–2.4)
Franceschi et al. (20) (1989)Case control (HB)NHLNonspecific1.0 (0.6–1.5)Nonspecific allergy includes asthma, eczema, medication allergies, and food allergies; OR adjusted for age and sex.
Doody et al. (19) (1992)Case control (HMOB)NHLEczema1.9 (0.6–5.8)Data abstracted from medical records of health maintenance organization for cases and controls matched on age, sex, region, and duration of membership; ORs unadjusted (ORs adjusted for sex and region not reported given no “meaningful difference”).
Hay fever0.5 (0.2–1.2)
Bernstein et al. (9) (1992)Case control (PB)NHLAerosol sprays: M/F2.3 (0.7–7.5)d/0.7 (0.4–1.4)dCases and controls matched on age (+/−5 years), sex, race, and neighborhood of residence of case at time of diagnosis; 15 specific allergy categories included in study. Unadjusted sex-stratified ORs selectively reported for allergies to nuts and berries, insect bites/stings, eczema, and hives. Secondary analyses not done for allergies reported by <10 study participants.
Animal furs: M/F1.2 (0.6–2.2)d/0.9 (0.5–1.3)d
Cleaning agents: M/F2.1 (0.7–6.3)d/1.0 (0.5–1.8)a
Detergents: M/F1.2 (0.6–2.4)d/1.1 (0.7–1.7)d
Eggs: M/F1.1 (0.7–1.7)d/1.2 (0.8–1.7)a
Fabric: M/F1.5 (0.9–2.5)d/1.1 (0.8–1.6)d
Insect bites/stings: M/F0.9 (0.4–1.8)/0.6 (0.4–1.0)
Jewelry/metals: M/F0.6 (0.2–1.9)d/1.0 (0.6–1.7)d
Milk products: M/F1.0 (0.3–3.5)d/1.2 (0.6–2.5)d
Nuts and berries: M/F0.4 (0.2–1.0)/0.8 (0.5–1.4)
Other foods: M/F1.1 (0.5–2.1)d/1.2 (0.7–2.1)d
Soaps/perfumes: M/F0.8 (0.5–1.4)d/1.0 (0.7–1.5)a
Pollens/dusts: M/F1.2 (0.8–1.7)d/1.1 (0.8–1.4)a
Other allergies: M/F1.0 (0.6–1.4)d/1.1 (0.7–1.5)d
Eczema: M/F0.6 (0.3–1.2)/0.6 (0.3–1.2)
Hay fever: M/F1.0 (0.7–1.6)d/1.0 (0.7–1.4)d
Hives: M+F1.2 (1.0–1.6)
La Vecchia et al. (18) (1992)Case control (HB)NHLNonspecific1.0 (0.6–2.1)Nonspecific allergy “includes drug and food allergies, asthma, and eczema.” OR adjusted for age and sex.
ReferenceStudy typeHistologyAllergy typeRR/ORb (95% CI)Commentsc
Mills et al. (11) (1992)ProspectiveLymphomaNonspecific1.7 (1.0–3.1)Self-reported data for “asthma, hay fever, and reactions to medications, chemicals, bee sting, and poison oak (or ivy) or other plants” . . . “sufficiently serious to require treatment from a physician” Cohort exclusively comprised of Caucasian, non-Hispanic Seventh-Day Adventists; RRs adjusted for age, sex, smoking history, and time since last physician visit. P = 0.21 for linear trend.
 1 allergy2.2 (1.2–4.1)
 2 allergies1.3 (0.5–3.4)
 ≥3 allergies1.8 (0.6–5.2)
Bee sting1.1 (0.4–3.7)
Chemicals1.3 (0.3–5.4)
Medication1.6 (0.8–3.1)
Poisonous plants1.5 (0.8–3.0)
Asthma0.4 (0.0–2.5)
Hay fever1.0 (0.4–2.3)
Eriksson et al. (17) (1995)ProspectiveNHLAtopyAtopy status based on response to challenge with eight selected plant and animal allergens using a skin prick test. Cohort consisted of patients who were skin prick tested at the allergy clinic of Central Hospital in Halmstad, Sweden. Standardized incidence ratios for NHL derived from expected age- and sex-specific incidence rates for region using data from Swedish Tumor Registry.
Atopic3.8 (0.5–13.8)e
Intermediate3.4 (0.4–12.2)e
Nonatopic1.7 (0.2–6.3)e
Asthma1.0 (0.0–5.8)e
Hives0.0 (0.0–13.6)e
Rhinitis2.9 (0.8–7.5)e
Petroianu et al. (8) (1995)Case control (HB)LymphomaNonspecific0.2 (0.1–0.7)dCases and controls matched on sex. Controls were “students of the medical school and teachers of the same institution, relatives and friends of the authors.” OR unadjusted.
Holly et al. (7) (1997)Case control (PB)NHLNonspecific: HIV+/HIV−0.5 (0.3–0.8)/0.3 (0.2–0.6)Cases and controls comprised of homosexual men matched on age (+/− 5 yrs) and county of residence; ORs adjusted for age. Nonspecific allergy excludes medication; plant allergy includes grass, hay, leaves, and pollen; dust allergy includes allergies to chalk and mold.
Animals: HIV+/HIV−0.5 (0.2–1.3)/0.4 (0.1–1.5)
Dust: HIV+/HIV−0.3 (0.1–0.7)/0.4 (0.1–1.6)
Food: HIV+/HIV−0.9 (0.4–1.8)/0.3 (0.1–0.9)
Plants: HIV+/HIV−0.3 (0.2–0.6)/0.5 (0.2–1.1)
Holly et al. (6) (1999)Case control (PB)NHLAnimals: M/F0.5 (0.3–0.8)/0.7 (0.5–1.1)Cases and controls comprised of heterosexual men and women matched on age (+/−5 yrs), sex, and county of residence; sex-stratified ORs adjusted for age; plant allergy includes allergies to grass, hay, leaves, and pollen; dust allergy includes allergies to chalk and mold.
Dust: M/F0.9 (0.6–1.3)/0.7 (0.4–1.0)
Food: M/F1.0 (0.7–1.3)/0.8 (0.6–1.0)
Medication: M/F1.0 (0.8–1.3)/0.8 (0.6–0.9)
Plants: M/F0.6 (0.4–0.8)/0.5 (0.4–0.7)
Asthma: M/F0.9 (0.6–1.2)/0.8 (0.5–1.2)
Hives: M/F1.2 (0.9–1.5)/0.6 (0.5–0.8)
Vineis et al. (15) (2000)Case control (PB)NHLNonspecific0.9 (0.7–1.3)Analyses restricted to study participants who recalled date of diagnosis. ORs adjusted for age and sex.
Eczema1.2 (0.9–1.6)
Hay fever0.7 (0.5–1.0)
Tavani et al. (16) (2000)Case control (HB)NHLNonspecific0.9 (0.7–1.2)Nonspecific allergy includes allergies to medication and food. ORs adjusted for age, sex, and education.
Asthma0.8 (0.5–1.4)
Fabbro-Peray et al. (10) (2001)Case control (HB)NHLAsthma0.8 (0.5–1.3)ORs adjusted for age, sex, education, urban/rural residence, selected risk factors related to medical and occupational history, and for each other.
Eczema0.5 (0.3–0.7)
Hives1.7 (1.2–2.2)
  • a Studies are ordered chronologically by year of publication. Abbreviations: HB, hospital based; HD, Hodgkin’s disease; HIV+/HIV−, HIV+ homosexual men/HIV− homosexual men; HMOB, health maintenance organization based; M/F, male/female; NHANESI, First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; ns, nonsignificant (P = 0.05); PB, population based.

  • b Relative risk (RR)/OR and 95% CI. For consistency, values for risk estimates are rounded to nearest single decimal place (or to nearest even single decimal place in event of equidistance).

  • c Unless otherwise noted, information on history of allergy and allergic conditions was self reported by study participants without qualification of a physician diagnosis.

  • d OR and 95% CI not reported. Unadjusted OR and 95% CI calculated using published frequency data.

  • e Standardized incidence ratios and 95% CIs.