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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Hematopoietic and lymphatic cancers in relatives of patients with infectious mononucleosis.

BACKGROUND: Young adults with a history of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-related infectious mononucleosis have an increased risk for Hodgkin's lymphoma. EBV is detected in Hodgkin's lymphoma Reed-Sternberg cells from some patients, but in young adult patients, it is detected at a relatively low frequency in these cells. Hodgkin's lymphoma and infectious mononucleosis are both associated with high social class, and unknown confounding factors that are also associated with socioeconomic status might explain or contribute to the apparent association between these diseases. To indirectly assess the importance of socioeconomic status on the association between these diseases, we determined the risk for hematopoietic and lymphatic cancers in first-degree relatives of patients with confirmed EBV-related infectious mononucleosis. METHODS: We identified parents, siblings, and offspring of 17,045 persons with serologically confirmed EBV-related infectious mononucleosis. Subjects in these cohorts were linked with the population-based Danish Cancer Register to identify those developing hematopoietic/lymphatic cancers after the index patient was diagnosed with infectious mononucleosis. The relative risk for cancer in the infectious mononucleosis family members was expressed as standardized incidence ratios (SIRs; i.e., the ratio between the number of cancers observed and the number of cancers expected, obtained from age-specific, sex-specific, and period-specific incidence rates). RESULTS: We identified 8052 parents, 5264 siblings, and 28,605 offspring of patients with EBV-related infectious mononucleosis who were followed for a total of 892,213 person-years at risk. The risk for Hodgkin's lymphoma was unaltered in the combined group of first-degree relatives of these patients (SIR = 0.99; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 0.62 to 1.59; number of cases [n] = 17), in the group of parents (SIR = 0.83; 95% CI = 0.31 to 2.22; n = 4), in the group of siblings (SIR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.31 to 2.97; n = 3), and in the group of offspring (SIR = 1.08; 95% CI = 0.58 to 2.02; n = 10). CONCLUSION: The unremarkable risk for Hodgkin's lymphoma in family members of patients with EBV-related infectious mononucleosis indicates that socioeconomic confounding is an unlikely explanation for the association between EBV-related infectious mononucleosis and Hodgkin's lymphoma.[1]


  1. Hematopoietic and lymphatic cancers in relatives of patients with infectious mononucleosis. Hjalgrim, H., Rostgaard, K., Askling, J., Madsen, M., Storm, H.H., Rabkin, C.S., Melbye, M. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. (2002) [Pubmed]
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