Incidence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among adults in Sardinia, Italy

Giorgio Broccia, Jonathan Carter, Cansu Ozsin-Ozler, Federico Meloni, Sara De Matteis, Pierluigi Cocco

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The causes of the peculiar time trend in the incidence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in most parts of the world and of its geographic distribution are still unknown. We used the data base of 1974–2003 incident cases of hematological malignancies to explore the time trend of NHL incidence in the region of Sardinia, Italy, and we used Bayesian methods to plot the probability of NHL incidence by residential unit on the regional map. In 1974–2003, 4109 NHL cases were diagnosed among resident adults in Sardinia, with an incidence rate of 13.38 x 10−5 (95% CI 12.97–13.80). NHL incidence showed an upward trend along the study period with an average annual percent change (APC) of 4.94 (95% CI -5.39–16.4), which did not vary by gender or by age-group. Cancer registry data, covering part of the region starting from 1993, suggest that the increasing trend did not persist in the subsequent years. Areas with the highest probability of an excess incidence tended to cluster in the north-eastern part of the region and in two major urban centers, with the low incidence areas located in the south, confirming previous observations. Prevalence of viral infections, environmental and occupational exposures, or socio-economic deprivation would not explain the peculiar geographic distribution we observed. These findings provide convincing arguments for extending the coverage of routine cancer registration over the whole Sardinian population, while prompting further research on the genetic and environmental determinants of NHL in the risk areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0260078
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright: © 2022 Broccia et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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