• Hodgkin lymphoma;
  • measles virus;
  • PCR;
  • epidemiology


A proportion of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) cases are causally associated with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) but the aetiology of the remaining cases remains obscure. Over the last 3 decades several studies have found an association between HL and measles virus (MV) including a recent cohort study describing the detection of MV antigens in Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg cells, the tumour cells in HL. In the present study we looked at the relationship between history of MV infection and risk of developing HL in a population-based, case/control study of HL. In addition we used immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR to look for direct evidence of MV in HL biopsies. There was no significant difference in the proportion of cases reporting previous measles compared to controls in the entire data set or when young adults were considered separately. Using a robust immunohistochemical assay for MV infection, we failed to find evidence of MV in biopsies from 97 cases of HL and RT-PCR studies similarly gave negative results. This study therefore provides no evidence that MV is directly involved in the development of HL. However, when age at first reported MV infection was investigated, significant differences emerged with children infected before school-age having higher risk, especially of EBV−ve HL, when compared with children infected at older ages; the interpretation of these latter results is unclear. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.