Infectious, autoimmune and allergic diseases and risk of Hodgkin lymphoma in children and adolescents: A Children's Oncology Group study

Amy M. Linabery, Erik B. Erhardt, Rachel K. Fonstad, Richard F. Ambinder, Greta R. Bunin, Julie A. Ross, Logan G. Spector, Seymour Grufferman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


An infectious origin for pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) has long been suspected and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been implicated in a subset of cases. Increased HL incidence in children with congenital and acquired immunodeficiencies, consistent associations between autoimmune diseases and adult HL and genome-wide association and other genetic studies together suggest immune dysregulation is involved in lymphomagenesis. Here, healthy control children identified by random digit dialing were matched on sex, race/ethnicity and age to HL diagnosed in 1989-2003 at 0-14 years at Children's Oncology Group institutions. Parents of 517 cases and 784 controls completed telephone interviews, including items regarding medical histories. Tumor EBV status was determined for 355 cases. Using conditional logistic regression, we calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for risk of HL. Cases were more likely to have had an infection>1 year prior to HL diagnosis (OR=1.69, 95% CI: 0.98-2.91); case siblings were also more likely to have had a prior infection (OR=2.04, 95% CI: 1.01-4.14). Parental history of autoimmunity associated with increased EBV+ HL risk (OR=2.97, 95% CI: 1.34-6.58), while having a parent (OR=1.47, 95% CI: 1.01-2.14) or sibling (OR=1.62, 95% CI: 1.11-2.36) with an allergy was associated with EBV - HL. These results may indicate true increased risk for infections and increased risk with family history of autoimmune and allergic conditions that varies by tumor EBV status, or they may be attributable to inaccurate recall. In addition to employing biomarkers to confirm the role of immune-modulating conditions in pediatric HL, future studies should focus on family based designs.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014


  • allergies
  • autoimmune disease
  • children
  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • infections

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