Celiac Disease in Sibling Ups Risk of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

More study needed to explore familial association

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Celiac disease patients have a significantly increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and the risk has steadily declined in the last 40 years, but siblings of celiac disease patients also have an increased risk of NHL, according to study findings published in the January issue of Gastroenterology.

Ying Gao, M.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues studied 37,869 patients with NHL, 8,323 with Hodgkin's lymphoma, and 13,842 with chronic lymphocytic leukemia who were diagnosed between 1965 and 2004, and also 236,408 matched controls and 613,961 first-degree relatives.

Overall, the researchers found that celiac disease patients had a significantly increased risk of NHL (5.35-fold) but not a significantly increased risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukemia. But they found that the risk of NHL significantly decreased in patients diagnosed with celiac disease in 1995-2004 (3.84-fold increased risk) compared with those diagnosed in 1975-1984 (13.2-fold increased risk). The investigators also found that siblings of celiac disease patients had a 2.03-fold increased risk of developing NHL.

"Our observation that NHL risk was increased among persons with a sibling affected with celiac disease suggests shared susceptibility for celiac disease and NHL," the authors conclude. "There is a great need to improve our understanding regarding underlying mechanisms of our findings and to develop better biomarkers for prediction of lymphomagenesis among patients with immune-related and inflammatory conditions."

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