According to a recent article published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a family history of hematopoietic (blood or lymph-related) cancers increases the risk of non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Hematopoietic cancers refer to cancers affecting the blood or lymph system and consist of leukemias, lymphomas, or multiple myeloma. Non-Hodgkin’s (NHL) and Hodgkin’s lymphomas (HL) are two different types of lymphoma, which is cancer that affects the immune system. Researchers continue to evaluate possible associations between environmental or genetic factors that may place an individual at a higher risk of developing specific cancers such as NHL and HL.
Researchers from Sweden recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate possible associations with an increased risk of NHL or HL in individuals with a family history of hematopoietic cancers. This study included 1,506 patients with lymphomas and their family histories of hematopoietic cancers. They were compared with healthy individuals and their family histories.
Overall, a family history of hematopoietic cancers was associated with an increased risk of developing lymphoma:
- Individuals with parents having hematopoietic cancers had an approximate two-fold increased risk of developing lymphoma.
- Individuals with siblings having hematopoietic cancers had an approximately three-fold increased risk of developing lymphoma.
- Familial history of any type of hematopoietic cancers had an increased risk of developing NHL.
- Familial multiple myeloma was associated with an increased risk of developing follicular lymphoma.
- Family history of NHL or chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) was associated with an increased risk of NHL and HL.
The researchers concluded that individuals with a family history of hematopoietic cancers have an increased risk of developing NHL and HL. Patients with a family history of hematopoietic cancers may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks of development of a disease and/or screening for a particular disease.
Reference: Chang E, Smedby K, Hjalgrim H, et al. Family History of Hematopoietic Malignancy and Risk of Lymphoma. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2005; 97, No. 19, 1466-1474.