Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2019;45(6):600-609    pdf full text

doi:10.5271/sjweh.3830 | Published online: 27 Jun 2019, Issue date: 01 Nov 2019

Glyphosate use and associations with non-Hodgkin lymphoma major histological sub-types: findings from the North American Pooled Project

by Pahwa M, Beane Freeman LE, Spinelli JJ, Blair A, McLaughlin JR, Zahm SH, Cantor KP, Weisenburger DD, Punam Pahwa, Dosman JA, Demers PA, Harris SA

Objectives Some epidemiological studies have suggested positive associations between glyphosate use and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), but evidence is inconsistent and few studies could evaluate histological sub-types. Here, associations between glyphosate use and NHL incidence overall and by histological sub-type were evaluated in a pooled analysis of case–control studies.

Methods The analysis included 1690 NHL cases [647 diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), 468 follicular lymphoma (FL), 171 small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), and 404 other sub-types] and 5131 controls. Logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for NHL overall and sub-types with self-reported ever/never, duration, frequency, and lifetime-days of glyphosate use.

Results Subjects who ever used glyphosate had an excess of NHL overall (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.11–1.83). After adjustment for other pesticides, the OR for NHL overall with "ever use" was 1.13 (95% CI 0.84–1.51), with a statistically significant association for handling glyphosate >2 days/year (OR 1.73, 95% CI 1.02–2.94, P-trend=0.2). In pesticide-adjusted sub-type analyses, the ordinal measure of lifetime-days was statistically significant (P=0.03) for SLL, and associations were elevated, but not statistically significant, for ever years or days/year of use. Handling glyphosate >2 days/year had an excess of DLBCL (OR 2.14, 95% CI 1.07–4.28; P-trend=0.2). However, as with the other sub-types, consistent patterns of association across different metrics were not observed.

Conclusions There was some limited evidence of an association between glyphosate use and NHL in this pooled analysis. Suggestive associations, especially for SLL, deserve additional attention.

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