UV exposure and effects of gene interactions with UV exposure as risk factors in Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL)

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (NHL) are cancers of the lymphatic system, which is responsible for the body’s immune response to fight disease. People with suppressed immune systems are at increased risk for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but little is known about other risk factors. Some evidence points to ultraviolet (UV) exposure from sunlight as a possible risk factor. For example, the incidence of NHL has increased in parallel with some skin cancers. The risk of these skin cancers and NHL increase with proximity to the equator, suggesting sunlight or UV exposure is a risk factor in NHL, as has been proven for skin cancer. Certain groups with higher exposure to sunlight have increased risk of developing NHL. And UV radiation is known to suppress the immune response, which is associated with NHL. Carmen Ng is investigating genetic and environmental risks for NHL. She is also examining whether variations in two genes, XRCC1 and MC1R, affect the risk of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas due to UV exposure. This study will help explain the causes of NHL, which can be used to develop preventive measures and better treatments for the disease.