Pigmentary characteristics, sun sensitivity and non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Ann Maree Hughes, Bruce K. Armstrong, Claire M. Vajdic, Jennifer Turner, Andrew Grulich, Lin Fritschi, Sam Milliken, John Kaldor, Geza Benke, Anne Kricker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


We report on pigmentary characteristics, sun sensitivity and some other possible risk factors for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in people 20-74 years of age. A statewide case-control study was conducted in New South Wales, Australia, with population-based sampling of cases (n = 704) and controls (n = 694). Risk of NHL was increased in subjects with hazel eyes (OR = 1.48; 95% CI = 1.07-2.04), very fair skin (OR = 1.44; 95% CI = 1.01-2.07) and poor ability to tan (OR = 1.70; 95% CI = 1.06-2.71). Risk with mild facial freckling as a child (OR = 0.77; 95% CI = 0.59-0.99) was reduced relative to that with no or moderate to severe freckling. Smokers were not at increased risk of NHL. A past history of treatment for skin cancer was associated with a slight nonsignificant increase in risk. Previous radiotherapy and chemotherapy were associated with 1.5- to 2-fold increases in risk but with wide confidence intervals. These results provide weak support for the possibility that sun sensitivity or perhaps sun exposure increases risk of NHL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-434
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Case-control study
  • Etiology
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Pigmentary characteristics
  • Sun sensitivity


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