The emerging epidemic of Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas worldwide continues to defy our understanding and forces the search for the causative factors. Adjuvants are known to act as triggers of immune and inflammatory responses. Animal experiments have demonstrated that long-term inflammation is related to aggravation of the immune network resulting in cellular and humoral responses leading to autoimmunity and lymphoma development. Chronic stimulation of the immune system is thought to be the key mechanism through which infectious diseases as well as autoimmune diseases can lead to lymphomagenesis. Many adjuvants can act similarly perturbing immune system’s function, inducing a state of prolonged immune activation related to chronic lymphatic drainage. Several mechanisms were proposed by which adjuvants induce inflammation, and they are discussed herein. Some of them are triggering inflammasome; others bind DNA, lipid moieties in cells, induce uric acid production or act as lipophilic and/or hydrophobic substances. The sustained inflammation increases the risk of genetic aberrations, where the initial polyclonal activation ends in monoclonality. The latter is the hallmark of malignant lymphoma. Thus, chronic adjuvant stimulation may lead to lymphoma.
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Butnaru, D., Shoenfeld, Y. Adjuvants and lymphoma risk as part of the ASIA spectrum. Immunol Res 61, 79–89 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12026-014-8622-0