Exposure to benzene has been known to cause acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Now, as a result of new medical research has found a statistically significant association between exposure to benzene and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Medical researchers recently examined the potential link between benzene exposure and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) by reviewing a wide array of previous benzene studies and applying meta-analysis methods to that data. For a summary of their findings, we turn to this article, “New research shows link between benzene and non-Hodgkin lymphoma“:
The association they found was dose-dependent, meaning greater exposures to benzene yielded a higher risk of NHL. Because NHL comprises numerous cancers, the researchers tested whether benzene was more closely related to a particular subtype of NHL and uncovered a doubling of the risk for the diffuse large B-cell lymphoma subtype.
“The study sheds new light on our understanding of benzene as a carcinogen,” says [the lead researcher], “and provides compelling evidence that benzene not only causes leukemia, but also lymphoma.”
More details about the link between benzene and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), we present selected parts of the Abstract for this report about that new benzene cancer research, “Benzene exposure and non-Hodgkin lymphoma: a systematic review and meta-analysis of human studies”, which was published online by The Lancet Planetary Health, medical journal on August 24, 2021:
- Background: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma comprises a heterogeneous group of cancers with unresolved [etiology], although risk factors include environmental exposures to toxic chemicals. Although the ubiquitous pollutant benzene is an established [cause of leukemia], its potential to cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma has been widely debated. We aimed to examine the potential link between benzene exposure and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in humans by evaluating a wide array of cohort and case-control studies using electronic systematic review.
- Findings: … 20 case-control studies and eight cohort studies were included in our meta-analysis, which included a total of 9587 patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We reported an increased meta-relative risk (meta-RR) of 33% in highly exposed groups, when data were available (meta-RR 1·33 [95% CI 1·13–1·57], n=28). The meta-RR rose to 1·51 (1·22–1·87, n=18) in the studies that provided results specifically for highly exposed individuals. In particular, we reported a doubling of this risk for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a major non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtype (1·67 [1·01–2·77]). We also detected increased risks for follicular lymphoma (1·47 [0·95–2·27]) and hairy cell [leukemia] (1·77 [0·99–3·16]), though they were not statistically significant….
- Interpretation: Our findings suggest a causal link between benzene exposure and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, especially for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
In summary, medical researchers have identified a statistically significant association between exposure to benzene and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.