ROCHESTER, MN – Noting that studies linking lipid traits to risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma have been inconclusive, new research examined the association of genetically predicted lipid traits with risk of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), follicular lymphoma (FL), and marginal zone lymphoma (MZL).

The study, with results published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, employed genome-wide association study data from the InterLymph Consortium. An international study team led by the Mayo Clinic and including participation from the National Cancer Institute reported that information was available for 2,661 patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma patients, 2,179 with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, 2,142 with follicular lymphoma, 824 with marginal zone lymphoma and 6,221 controls. 1

Single nucleotide polymorphism associated (P < 5 × 10-8) with high-density lipoprotein (HDL, n = 164), low-density lipoprotein (LDL, n = 137), total cholesterol (TC, n = 161), and triglycerides (TG, n = 123) were used as instrumental variables (IV), explaining 14.6%, 27.7%, 16.8%, and 12.8% of phenotypic variation, respectively, according to the study. Researchers also calculated associations between each lipid trait and NHL subtype.

Results indicated that HDL was positively associated with DLBCL (OR = 1.14; 95% CI, 1.00-1.30) and MZL (OR = 1.09; 95% CI, 1.01-1.18), while TG was inversely associated with MZL risk (OR = 0.90; 95% CI, 0.83-0.99), all at nominal significance (P < 0.05).

In addition, researchers noted that a positive trend was observed for HDL with FL risk (OR = 1.08; 95% CI, 0.99-1.19; P = 0.087), but added, “No associations were noteworthy after adjusting for multiple testing.”

“We did not find evidence of a clear or strong association of these lipid traits with the most common NHL subtypes,” the authors explained. “While these IVs have been previously linked to other cancers, our findings do not support any causal associations with these NHL subtypes.”

The researchers further state, “Our results suggest that prior reported inverse associations of lipid traits are not likely to be causal and could represent reverse causality or confounding.”

  1. Kleinstern G, Camp NJ, Berndt SI, et al. Lipid Trait Variants and the Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Subtypes: A Mendelian Randomization Study [published online ahead of print, 2020 Feb 27]. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020;10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-0803. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-0803