Obesity and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (United States)

Brian C.H. Chiu*, Lori Soni, Susan M. Gapstur, Angela J. Fought, Andrew M. Evens, Dennis D. Weisenburger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective: Few studies have explored the potential association between body mass index (BMI) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) according to histologic subtypes, or have evaluated BMI at different periods in the subject's life, and the results of these studies have been inconsistent. Subjects: A population-based, case-control study of 387 patients with NHL and 535 controls conducted in Nebraska between 1999 and 2002. Methods: Information on usual adult weight, weight at the ages 20-29, 40-49, and 60-69 years, height, physical activity, and other lifestyle factors was collected by telephone interview. A self-administered semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire was used to collect dietary intake. Risk was estimated by odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusting for age, total energy intake, physical activity, and other confounding factors. Results: Higher adult BMI was associated with risk of NHL (OR = 1.4; 95% CI = 0.9-2.0) comparing the obese group (BMI ≥ 30.0 kg/m2) with the normal weight group (BMI = 18.5-24.9 kg/m2). The risk was higher for those who were class 2 obese (BMI ≥ 35.0 kg/m2, OR = 1.7; 95% CI = 1.0-2.9). The positive association was similar among men and women. An excess risk of NHL was associated with high BMI at ages 40-49 years (OR = 1.6; 95% CI = 1.0-2.5), and to a lesser extent, at ages 20-29 years (OR = 1.4; 95% CI = 0.8-2.5). Obesity at ages 40-49 years was also associated with a higher risk of small lymphocytic lymphoma (OR = 4.5; 95% CI = 1.5-13.3), diffuse large B-cell NHL (OR = 1.8; 95% CI = 0.9-3.9) and follicular NHL (OR = 1.8; 95% CI = 0.9-3.5). Conclusion: Obesity is associated with risk of NHL overall. Obesity at ages 40-49 years is also associated with a higher risk of NHL overall, and particularly small lymphocytic, follicular, and diffuse large B-cell NHL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-685
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Body mass index
  • Lymphoma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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