Pigmentation Traits Linked to Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma/CLL

Some pigmentation traits are associated with non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), according to a study published in Cancer Medicine.

This prospective cohort study comprised 92,097 French women aged 40 to 65 years at inclusion in 1990; researchers collated data at baseline and updated the data every two to three years. They used hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to assess the correlations between pigmentary traits and sun exposure and used Cox models to estimate the risk of CLL/NHL. In total, the researchers identified 622 incident cases of CLL/NHL.

According to the results, the presence of nevi was correlated with CLL/NHL risk: HR for “many or very many nevi” relative to “no nevi”: 1.56 (95% CI, 1.15-2.11). The researchers observed that nevi appears to be mostly limited to risk of CLL: HR for “many or very many nevi”: 3.00 (95% CI, 1.38-6.52) versus 1.32 (95% CI, 0.94-1.84) for NHL. Moreover, the results showed that women whose skin was highly sensitive to sunburn also had a higher risk of CLL (HR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.21-3.18), while no increase in risk of NHL was observed. However, skin or hair color, number of freckles, and average daily ultraviolet dose during spring and summer in location of residence at birth or at inclusion were not factors linked with CLL/NHL risk.

“Some pigmentary traits (presence of nevi and skin sensitivity), but not sun exposure, were associated with CLL/NHL. These observations suggest that CLL may share some constitutional risk factors with keratinocyte cancers,” the researchers concluded.