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      Associations between allergies and risk of hematologic malignancies: Results from the VITamins and lifestyle cohort study


      Immune dysregulations associated with allergies may affect cancer cell biology but studies on the relationship between allergies and risk of hematologic malignancies (HM) yielded inconsistent results. Herein, we used the vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort to examine this association. From 2000 to 2002, 66,212 participants, aged 50-76, completed a baseline questionnaire on cancer risk factors, medical conditions, allergies, and asthma. Through 2009, incident HMs (n = 681) were identified via linkage to the surveillance, epidemiology, and end results cancer registry. After adjustment for factors possibly associated with HMs, a history of airborne allergy was associated with increased risk of HMs (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.19 [95% confidence interval: 1.01-1.41], P = 0.039) in Cox proportional hazards models. This association was limited to allergies to plants/grass/trees (HR = 1.26 [1.05-1.50], P = 0.011) and was strongest for some mature B-cell lymphomas (HR = 1.50 [1.14-2.00], P = 0.005). Gender-stratified analyses revealed that the associations between airborne allergies overall and those to plants, grass, and trees were only seen in women (HR = 1.47 [1.14-1.91], P = 0.004; and HR = 1.73 [1.32-2.25], P < 0.001) but not men (HR = 1.03 [0.82-1.29], P = 0.782; and HR = 0.99 [0.77-1.27], P = 0.960). Together, our study indicates a moderately increased risk of HMs in women but not men with a history of allergies to airborne allergens, especially to plant, grass, or trees.

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