Genetic variations in human leukocyte antigens (HLA) are critical in host responses to infections, transplantation, and immunological diseases. We previously identified associations with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and the HLA-DRB1*01:01 allele and extended ancestral haplotype (AH) 8.1 (HLA-A*01-B*08-DR*03-TNF-308A). To illuminate how HLA alleles and haplotypes may influence NHL etiology, we examined potential interactions between HLA-DRB1*01:01 and AH 8.1, and a wide range of NHL risk factors among 685 NHL cases and 646 controls from a United States population-based case-control study. We calculated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals by HLA allele or haplotype status, adjusted for sex, age, race and study center for NHL and two major subtypes using polychotomous unconditional logistic regression models. The previously reported elevation in NHL risk associated with exposures to termite treatment and polychlorinated biphenyls were restricted to individuals who did not possess HLA-DRB1*01:01. Previous associations for NHL and DLBCL with decreased sun exposure, higher BMI, and autoimmune conditions were statistically significant only among those with AH 8.1, and null among those without AH 8.1. Our results suggest that NHL risk factors vary in their association based on HLA-DRB1*01:01 and AH 8.1 status. Our results further suggest that certain NHL risk factors may act through a common mechanism to alter NHL risk. Finally, control participants with either HLA-DRB1*01:01 or AH 8.1 reported having a family history of NHL twice as likely as those who did not have either allele or haplotype, providing the first empirical evidence that HLA associations may explain some of the well-established relationship between family history and NHL risk.
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