Breast Implants Linked to Type of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Preliminary research suggests association with anaplastic large T-cell lymphoma of the breast

TUESDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Silicone breast implants may be associated with an increased risk of a rare but potentially life-threatening condition: anaplastic large T-cell lymphoma (ALCL) of the breast, according to preliminary research published in the Nov. 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Daphne de Jong, M.D., of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, and colleagues conducted a case-control study of 11 women who developed ALCL of the breast and 35 matched controls who developed other lymphomas in the breast.

The investigators found that five of the ALCL patients had received bilateral silicone breast prostheses for cosmetic reasons between one and 23 years before diagnosis. Among controls, only one had received breast implants before diagnosis. The researchers report that breast prostheses were associated with a significantly increased risk of ALCL (odds ratio 18.2), but cautioned that the absolute risk is extremely low because the disease rarely occurs in the breast.

"Continued epidemiologic research is critically needed to piece together the puzzle of non-Hodgkin lymphoma etiology, and the report by de Jong et al highlights the importance and the challenges of non-Hodgkin lymphoma epidemiologic research," state the authors of an accompanying editorial. "These findings must be considered preliminary and hypothesis-generating and are not strong enough to definitively conclude that breast implants predispose women to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. However, given that silicone is immunogenic, further evaluation of breast implant-related lymphoma is warranted, particularly by studies with statistical power, sufficient follow-up, and information on other factors."

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