Adolescent weight and height are predictors of specific non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes among a cohort of 2,352,988 individuals aged 16 to 19 years

Merav Leiba, Adi Leiba, Lital Keinan-Boker, Abraham Avigdor, Estela Derazne, Hagai Levine, Jeremy D. Kark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND The age-adjusted annual incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) has risen worldwide. This trend may be affected by the secular increase in height and the sharp upswing in adolescent overweight; these drive increased insulinlike growth factor 1 and chronic inflammation, which may play an etiologic role. This study examined the association of the body mass index (BMI) and height of adolescents with NHL subtypes, which have been insufficiently evaluated. METHODS Health-related data on 2,352,988 Israeli adolescents, aged 16 to 19 years, who were examined between 1967 and 2011 were linked to the Israel National Cancer Registry to derive the NHL incidence up to December 31, 2012 (4021 cases). Cox proportional hazards modeling was used to estimate the multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for NHL subtypes associated with the BMI and height of adolescents. RESULTS Adolescent overweight and obesity were associated with an HR of 1.25 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.13-1.37; P = 1.14 × 10-5) for NHL in comparison with normal weight. There was a graded association of height with NHL (P = 4.29 × 10-9), with the tallest adolescents (≥95th percentile vs 25th to < 50th percentiles [US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]) exhibiting an HR of 1.28 (95% CI, 1.04-1.56). Marginal zone lymphoma, primary cutaneous lymphoma (PCL), and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) showed the strongest associations for overweight/obesity, and DLBCL and PCL showed the strongest associations for height. CONCLUSIONS The findings of this large cohort study add to the growing body of evidence showing that higher body weight and taller stature during adolescence are associated with an increased risk of NHL and may modestly contribute to its increasing incidence. Further studies are needed to elucidate the mechanisms linking anthropometric measures and NHL risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1068-1077
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Cancer Society.


  • adolescence
  • epidemiology
  • height
  • non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)
  • obesity
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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