Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

The rate of non-Hodgkin lymphoma has been rising steadily in the U.S. since the late 1940s and since the 1960s in other countries worldwide. The disease causes malignant tumors to develop in the lymph system. A new study published in The Lancet (26 July 1997) indicates a link between this form of cancer and blood levels of DDT, its metabolites, and other organochlorines, including PCBs. Nathaniel Rothman, M.D., of the National Cancer Institute and colleagues at other medical centers in the Washington, D.C. area measured the prediagnosis blood levels of organochlorine residues of 74 people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and compared them to the blood levels of 147 similar-aged people without cancer. There was a strong relationship between higher blood levels of organochlorine residues and the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Dr. Rothman and colleagues said their results should be regarded as hypothesis-generating before exposure to organochlorine can be identified as the cause of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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By Maryann Napoli

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