Hepatitis C virus and B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas: an Italian multicenter case-control study

Alfonso Mele, Alessandro Pulsoni, Elvira Bianco, Pellegrino Musto, Andre Szklo, Maria Grazia Sanpaolo, Emilio Iannitto, Amalia De Renzo, Bruno Martino, Vincenzo Liso, Cristina Andrizzi, Simona Pusterla, Fausto Dore, Maddalena Maresca, Maria Rapicetta, Fabrizio Marcucci, Franco Mandelli, Silvia Franceschi
Blood 2003 August 1, 102 (3): 996-9
The existence of an association between infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL) remains controversial, largely because previous studies were based on prevalent case series or comparisons with less than optimal control groups. This hospital-based case-control study was conducted from January 1998 through February 2001 to evaluate the association between HCV infection and B-NHL of different types. Cases were consecutive patients with a new diagnosis of B-NHL; controls were patients from other departments of the same hospitals. Both groups were interviewed using a standardized questionnaire. The prevalence of HCV infection was calculated by histologic type of B-NHL and clinical behavior (indolent or aggressive). Adjusted odds ratio (OR) and HCV-attributable risk (AR) were estimated. HCV prevalence was 17.5% among the 400 lymphoma patients and 5.6% among the 396 controls. The OR of B-NHL (patients vs controls), adjusted by age, sex, level of education, and place of birth, was 3.1 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8-5.2); an OR indicative of positive association was found for indolent and aggressive B-NHL. The estimated AR was 4.6%. This study confirms an association between HCV and B-NHL. In Italy, 1 of 20 instances of B-NHL may be attributable to HCV infection and may, thus, benefit from antiviral treatment.

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