What causes pediatric non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)?

Updated: Jun 14, 2018
  • Author: J Martin Johnston, MD; Chief Editor: Max J Coppes, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Answer

In industrialized countries, most individuals with non-Hodgkin lymphoma have no known etiology or association. Epidemiologic data suggest that certain human leukocyte antigen (HLA) types, and even certain blood types, may increase or decrease the likelihood of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. [4, 5]

Findings from several epidemiologic studies suggest that pesticide exposure may play a role in the development of adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma; the case for its involvement in childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma is less compelling than the case for adults, but this is still under investigation. [6, 7]

The epidemiologic association between non-Hodgkin lymphoma and certain paternal occupations (eg, those that increase contact with other individuals) suggests a possible infective etiology for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma. [8]

An interesting statistical association exists between high birth weight and the subsequent risk of childhood cancers, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma. [9]

Regarding protective factors, results of one case-control study suggested that exposure to sunlight may protect individuals against non-Hodgkin lymphoma, presumably because of enhanced vitamin D synthesis. [10]


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