There appears to be an inverse relationship between ultraviolet radiation exposure and Hodgkin lymphoma, where Hodgkin lymphoma incidence was lower in areas of the United States with more ultraviolet radiation exposure, a study published in the British Journal of Cancer has shown.1

Although previous data have suggested a reduced risk for developing Hodgkin lymphoma with increased ultraviolet radiation exposure, these findings have been inconsistent and limited to Hodgkin lymphoma as a whole or the most common subtypes. Therefore, researchers sought to evaluate the association between ultraviolet radiation and incidence of Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes.

For the study, investigators analyzed data from 15 population-based cancer registries in the United States from 2001 to 2010. A total of 20 021 patients were identified. Rather than using personal ultraviolet radiation exposure, researchers used ground-based ambient ultraviolet radiation estimates linked to the county of diagnosis.

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Results showed that Hodgkin lymphoma incidence was lower in the highest ultraviolet radiation quintile for nodular sclerosis (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 0.84; 95% CI, 0.75 – 0.96; Ptrend < .01), mixed cellularity/lymphocyte-depleted (IRR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.51 – 0.86; Ptrend = .11), lymphocyte-rich (IRR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.57 – 0.88; Ptrend < .01), and nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (IRR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.56 – 0.97; Ptrend < .01).

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However, the incidence of “not otherwise specified” Hodgkin lymphoma was not linked with higher ultraviolet radiation exposure (IRR, 1.19, 95% CI, 0.96 – 1.47; Ptrend = .11).


  1. Bowen EM, Pfeiffer RM, Linet MS, et al. Relationship between ambient ultraviolet radiation and Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes in the United States [published online ahead of print February 18, 2016]. Br J Cancer. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2015.383.