Large Study Seeks Early-Life Risk Factors for NHL

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A diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in children, adolescents and young adults is rather rare, and tends to constitute a very small percentage of the annual number of diagnoses. However, some researchers believe that while NHL diagnoses are stabilizing among adults, they are growing in incidence among younger people.

In order to try and determine what factors may be at work in this potential rise in incidence, researchers from the Department of Medicine at Stanford University conducted a national cohort study of in excess of 3.5 million people born in Sweden between the years 1973 and 2008, who were subsequently followed for NHL incidence.

Their findings have been published in the most recent issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Factors they were able to determine that influenced non-Hodgkin's lymphoma development among young people included the following:

  • -- Family genetics
  • -- Family history (NHL in a sibling or parent)
  • -- High fetal growth
  • -- Older maternal age
  • -- Low birth order
  • -- Male gender (in kids under the age of 15 only)

According to the study authors:

"These findings suggest several heterogeneous mechanisms including possible growth factor pathways in utero, immunologic effects of delayed infectious exposures, as well as other unmeasured environmental and genetic factors. Further elucidation of these risk factors may facilitate the identification of high-risk individuals at young ages and potentially enable earlier detection and treatment."

Source: Science Codex

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