Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp 1045–1052 | Cite as

Ultraviolet radiation, dietary vitamin D, and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (United States)

  • Patricia HartgeEmail author
  • Unhee Lim
  • D. Michal Freedman
  • Joanne S. Colt
  • James R. Cerhan
  • Wendy Cozen
  • Richard K. Severson
  • Scott Davis
Original Paper



Because of conflicting findings about the relationship between ultraviolet (UV) radiation and the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), we evaluated the risk of several indicators related to UV, including two not previously studied: dietary vitamin D, and ambient UV levels by residential location.


As part of a case–control study conducted in four Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries, we collected UV information from a self-administered questionnaire and computer-assisted personal interview with 551 NHL cases and 462 controls. We estimated the relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) from unconditional logistic regression models.


Eye color, a marker of host susceptibility to UV, showed a decreasing risk gradient for lightest eyes (0.47) compared to darkest. Relative risks were in the range of 0.73–0.78 for participants reporting more hours in the mid-day summer sun. Use of sunlamps or tanning booths was associated with decreased risk (RR = 0.88), as was estimated overall ambient UV (RR = 0.76 per 50 RB-units) overall. Vitamin D intake from diet and supplements was not related to risk. Results were thus consistent for the various indicators, although some estimated risks were not statistically significant. Effects were generally similar for diffuse large B-cell (DLBCL) and follicular lymphomas.


These data suggest a slight protective effect of sunlight against NHL, and they agree with geographic patterns of NHL incidence observed in the US.


Non-Hodgkin lymphoma Sunlight Epidemiology Vitamin D 



We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the study participants; the SEER centers of Iowa, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Seattle for rapid identification of cases; the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for selection of older controls; Carol Haines (Westat, Inc.) for development of study materials and procedures, for selection of younger controls and for study coordination; Lonn Irish (Information Management Services, Inc.) for computer support; and Geoffrey Tobias for research assistance. This research was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH, National Cancer Institute, and conducted with contracts: N01-PC-67010, N01-PC-67008, N02-PC-71105, N02-CP-31003, N01-PC-67009, and N01-PC-65064.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Hartge
    • 1
    Email author
  • Unhee Lim
    • 1
  • D. Michal Freedman
    • 1
  • Joanne S. Colt
    • 1
  • James R. Cerhan
    • 2
  • Wendy Cozen
    • 3
  • Richard K. Severson
    • 4
  • Scott Davis
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics National Cancer InstitueRockvilleUSA
  2. 2.Mayo Clinic College of MedicineRochesterUSA
  3. 3.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Karmanos Cancer Institute and Department of Family MedicineWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  5. 5.Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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