Aspirin and the risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma in a population-based case-control study

Ellen T. Chang, Tongzhang Zheng, Edward G. Weir, Michael Borowitz, Risa B. Mann, Donna Spiegelman, Nancy E. Meuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Background: Regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is associated with decreased risk of several malignancies. NSAIDs may prevent cancer development by blocking the cyclooxygenase-catalyzed synthesis of proinflammatory prostaglandins. Aspirin may also protect against Hodgkin's lymphoma by inhibiting transcription factor nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), which is necessary for immune function and the survival of Hodgkin's lymphoma cells. We examined the association between regular analgesic use and the risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma. Methods: A population-based case-control study of 565 case patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma and 679 control subjects was conducted in the metropolitan area of Boston, Massachusetts, and in the state of Connecticut. Participants reported their average use of aspirin, non-aspirin NSAIDs, and acetaminophen over the previous 5 years. Regular analgesic use was defined as consumption of at least two tablets per week on average over the preceding 5 years; non-regular use was defined as consumption of fewer than two tablets per week. Results: The risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma associated with regular aspirin use was statistically significantly lower (odds ratio [OR] = 0.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.42 to 0.85) than that associated with non-regular aspirin use. The risk was not associated with use of other non-aspirin NSAIDs (OR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.73 to 1.30). However, the risk associated with regular acetaminophen use was statistically significantly higher (OR = 1.72, 95% CI = 1.29 to 2.31) than that associated with non-regular use. Conclusion: The inverse association between aspirin, but not other NSAIDs, and Hodgkin's lymphoma suggests that NF-κB signaling may play a key role in Hodgkin's lymphoma pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-315
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 18 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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