Pesticide exposures and immune suppression have been independently associated with the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), but their joint effect has not been well explored. Data from a case-control study of men from six Canadian provinces were used to evaluate the potential effect modification of asthma, allergies, or asthma and allergies and hay fever combined on NHL risk from use of: (i) any pesticide; (ii) any organochlorine insecticide; (iii) any organophosphate insecticide; (iv) any phenoxy herbicide; (v) selected individual pesticides [1,1'-(2,2,2-trichloroethylidene)bis[4-chlorobenzene]; 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl) ethane (DDT), malathion, (4-chloro-2-methylphenoxy)acetic acid (MCPA), mecoprop, and (2,4-dichlorophenoxy)acetic acid (2,4-D); and (vi) from the number of potentially carcinogenic pesticides. Incident NHL cases (n = 513) diagnosed between 1991 and 1994 were recruited from provincial cancer registries and hospitalization records and compared to 1,506 controls. A stratified analysis was conducted to calculate odds ratios (ORs) adjusted for age, province, proxy respondent, and diesel oil exposure. Subjects with asthma, allergies, or hay fever had non-significantly elevated risks of NHL associated with use of MCPA (OR = 2.67, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.90-7.93) compared to subjects without any of these conditions (OR = 0.81, 95% CI: 0.39-1.70). Conversely, those with asthma, allergies, or hay fever who reported use of malathion had lower risks of NHL (OR = 1.25, 95% CI: 0.69-2.26) versus subjects with none of these conditions (OR = 2.44, 95% CI: 1.65-3.61). Similar effects were observed for asthma and allergies evaluated individually. Although there were some leads regarding effect modification by these immunologic conditions on the association between pesticide use and NHL, small numbers, measurement error and possible recall bias limit interpretation of these results.
Allergic and autoimmune diseases have been suggested to be inversely associated. We investigated the association between atopy and development of any and specific types of autoimmune disease.
We included a total of 14,849 individuals from five population-based studies with measurements of atopy defined as specific IgE positivity against inhalant allergens. We followed the participants by linkage to the Danish National Patient Register (median follow-up time 11.2 years). Hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of autoimmune disease were estimated by Cox regression.
We found no statistically significant associations between atopy and autoimmune disease, but we cannot exclude relatively small to moderate effects - protective or promotive - of atopy on autoimmune disease.