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

Patricia Hartge, Unhee Lim, D. Michal Freedman, Joanne S. Colt, James R. Cerhan, Wendy Cozen, Richard K. Severson, Scott Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


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

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1045-1052
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Epidemiology
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Sunlight
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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