• non-Hodgkin lymphoma;
  • etiology;
  • sun sensitivity;
  • pigmentary characteristics;
  • case-control study


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. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.