Rheumatologic disorders may be associated with an increased risk of developing diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and marginal zone lymphoma (MZL), according to data published in Cancer Epidemiology.

Researchers analyzed data from the Haematological Malignancy Research Network (HMRN), a population-based cohort of nearly 4 million people that began in September 2004 and accrues approximately 2400 hematologic malignancy diagnoses each year.

The study used data from 6834 patients diagnosed with DLBCL (1771 patients), myeloma (1760 patients), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL; 1580 patients), MZL (936 patients), and follicular lymphoma (FL; 787 patients) between January 2009 and August 2015. These records were linked to the nationally compiled Hospital Episode Statistics, thus enabling access to information on deaths and rheumatologic disorders within this population. Age- and sex-matched individuals (68,340 people) from the HMRN were used as comparators.

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The presence of rheumatologic conditions was significantly associated with increased risk of developing DLBCL (odds ratio [OR], 2.3; 95% CI, 1.8-2.8) and MZL (OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.5-2.7). The cancer site distribution of subjects with and without rheumatologic disorders varied for DLBCL (P =.007) and MZL (P =.002).

However, the presence of rheumatologic conditions did not associate with the development of myeloma, CLL, or FL. Additionally, no associations with survival were found for DLBCL (age-adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.2; 95% CI, 0.9-1.6) or MZL (age-adjusted HR , 1.0; 95% CI, 0.6-1.9).

“Our findings support the hypothesis that the chronic activation and proliferation of specific B-cell populations that characterize autoimmune diseases…increase the potential for the lymphomagenic events that lead to DLBCL and MZL in both males and females but have no impact on the development of CLL, FL, or multiple myeloma,” concluded the authors.


  1. Kane E, Painter D, Smith A, et al. The impact of rheumatological disorders on lymphomas and myeloma: a report on risk and survival from the UK’s population-based Haematological Malignancy Research Network [published online March 4, 2019]. Cancer Epidemiol. doi:10.1016/j.canep.2019.02.014

This article originally appeared on Hematology Advisor