Analysis of environmental chemical mixtures and non-hodgkin lymphoma risk in the NCI-SEER NHL Study

Jenna Czarnota, Chris Gennings, Joanne S. Colt, Anneclaire J. Deroos, James R. Cerhan, Richard K. Severson, Patricia Hartge, Mary H. Ward, David C. Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Background: There are several suspected environmental risk factors for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The associations between NHL and environmental chemical exposures have typically been evaluated for individual chemicals (i.e., one-by-one). Objectives: We determined the association between a mixture of 27 correlated chemicals measured in house dust and NHL risk. Methods: We conducted a population-based case–control study of NHL in four National Cancer Institute–Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results centers—Detroit, Michigan; Iowa; Los Angeles County, California; and Seattle, Washington—from 1998 to 2000. We used weighted quantile sum (WQS) regression to model the association of a mixture of chemicals and risk of NHL. The WQS index was a sum of weighted quartiles for 5 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 7 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and 15 pesticides. We estimated chemical mixture weights and effects for study sites combined and for each site individually, and also for histologic subtypes of NHL. Results: The WQS index was statistically significantly associated with NHL overall [odds ratio (OR) = 1.30; 95% CI: 1.08, 1.56; p = 0.006; for one quartile increase] and in the study sites of Detroit (OR = 1.71; 95% CI: 1.02, 2.92; p = 0.045), Los Angeles (OR = 1.44; 95% CI: 1.00, 2.08; p = 0.049), and Iowa (OR = 1.76; 95% CI: 1.23, 2.53; p = 0.002). The index was marginally statistically significant in Seattle (OR = 1.39; 95% CI: 0.97, 1.99; p = 0.071). The most highly weighted chemicals for predicting risk overall were PCB congener 180 and propoxur. Highly weighted chemicals varied by study site; PCBs were more highly weighted in Detroit, and pesticides were more highly weighted in Iowa. Conclusions: An index of chemical mixtures was significantly associated with NHL. Our results show the importance of evaluating chemical mixtures when studying cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)965-970
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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