INTRODUCTION: Lymphomas belong to the few cancer sites with increasing incidence over past decades, and only a few risk factors have been established. We explored the association between education and the incidence of lymphoma in the prospective EPIC study. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Within 3,567,410 person-years of follow-up, 1,319 lymphoma cases [1,253 non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) and 66 Hodgkin lymphomas (HL)] were identified. Cox proportional hazard regression was used to examine the association between highest educational level (primary school or less, technical/professional school, secondary school, university) and lymphoma risk. RESULTS: Overall, no consistent associations between educational level and lymphoma risk were observed; however, associations were found for sub-groups of the cohort. We observed a higher risk of B-NHL (HR = 1.31, 95% CI = 1.02–1.68; n = 583) in women with the highest education level (university) but not in men. Concerning sub-classes of B-NHL, a positive association between education and risk of B cell chronic lymphatic leukaemia (BCLL) was observed only in women. In both genders, the risk of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) was significantly lower for subjects with university degree (HR = 0.46, 95% CI = 0.27–0.79) versus lowest educational level. No association was found for HL. CONCLUSION: We could not confirm an overall consistent association of education and risk of HL or NHL in this large prospective study; although, education was positively related to the incidence of BCLL and B-NHL (in women) but inversely to incidence of DLBCL. Due to limited number of cases in sub-classes and the large number of comparisons, the possibility of chance findings can not be excluded.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s00432-009-0638-9

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol

Publication Date

01/2010

Volume

136

Pages

71 - 77

Keywords

Adult, Diet, Educational Status, Europe, Female, Hodgkin Disease, Humans, Incidence, Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell, Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse, Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin, Male, Middle Aged, Prevalence, Proportional Hazards Models, Prospective Studies, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires