Latitude gradients for lymphoid neoplasm subtypes in Australia support an association with ultraviolet radiation exposure

Marina T. Van Leeuwen*, Jennifer J. Turner, Michael O. Falster, Nicola S. Meagher, David J. Joske, Andrew E. Grulich, Graham G. Giles, Claire M. Vajdic

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)


    Given the uncertainty surrounding solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure and risk of lymphoid neoplasms, we performed an ecological analysis of national Australian data for incident cases diagnosed between 2002 and 2006. Subtype-specific incidence was examined by latitude band (<29°S, 29-36°S, ≥37°S), a proxy for ambient UVR exposure, using multiple Poisson regression, adjusted for sex, age-group and calendar year. Incidence increased with distance from the equator for several mature B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas, including diffuse large B-cell [incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 1.37; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.16-1.61 for latitude ≥37°S relative to <29°S], lymphoplasmacytic (IRR = 1.34; 95% CI: 1.12-1.61), mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (IRR = 1.32; 95% CI: 0.97-1.80) and mantle cell lymphoma (IRR = 1.29; 95% CI: 1.05-1.58), as well as plasmacytoma (IRR = 1.52; 95% CI: 1.09-2.11) and plasma cell myeloma (IRR = 1.15; 95% CI: 1.03-1.27). A similar pattern was observed for several mature cutaneous T-cell neoplasms, including primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma (IRR = 4.26; 95% CI: 1.85-9.84), mycosis fungoides/Sézary syndrome (IRR = 1.72; 95% CI: 1.20-2.46), and peripheral T-cell lymphoma not otherwise specified (NOS) (IRR = 1.53; 95% CI: 1.17-2.00). Incidence of mixed cellularity/lymphocyte- depleted (IRR = 1.60; 95% CI: 1.16-2.20) and nodular sclerosis Hodgkin lymphoma (IRR = 1.57; 95% CI: 1.33-1.85) also increased with distance from the equator. Many of these subtypes have a known association with infection or immune dysregulation. Our findings support a possible protective effect of UVR exposure on the risk of several lymphoid neoplasms, possibly through vitamin D-related immune modulation critical in lymphomagenesis. What's new? Studies examining the relationship between exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and risk of lymphoid neoplasms have produced conflicting results, with UVR implicated as both causative and preventative. This investigation of incidence by residential latitude band in Australia lends support to the idea that UVR exposure is protective, but specifically for certain subtypes of non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin lymphoma. The incidence of those subtypes, among which were several mature B-cell and T-cell neoplasms, was found to increase with increasing distance from the equator. The protective effect of UVR may be mediated through vitamin D-related immune modulation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)944-951
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2013


    • lymphoid neoplasm
    • incidence
    • latitude
    • ultraviolet radiation


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