Background: Several studies suggest that smoking and obesity may increase the risk of developing NHL, but the impact of these factors on survival is relatively unexplored. One recent population-based Italian study found that smoking may negatively impact overall survival.

Methods: We evaluated the association of body mass index (BMI) and cigarette smoking on overall survival in 1,286 patients who participated in a population-based case-control study conducted through the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) cancer registries in Detroit, Iowa, Seattle and Los Angeles. BMI (on 1189 participants) and a smoking history (on 471 participants) were obtained through in-person interviews. Histology, stage, presence of B symptoms, first course of therapy, date of last follow-up, and vital status were derived from linkage to registry databases at each study site in the spring of 2005. Hazard Ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models, while adjusting for demographic and clinical factors.

Results: The median age at diagnosis was 58 years (range: 16 – 74), and the most common histologies were DLBCL (33%), follicular (25%), SLL/CLL (12%), marginal zone (9%), mantle cell (4%) and Peripheral T-cell (3%). The median BMI was 26.6 (range: 16.2 – 47.3), and 26% of patients were classified as obese (i.e. BMI >30). Of patients with a smoking history, 47% had never smoked, 19% were active smokers at diagnosis, and 34% were former smokers. No significant differences were observed between those with and without tobacco use data in terms of primary lymphoma characteristics. Overall survival (OS) was defined as time from diagnosis to death due to any cause. Median follow-up on all living patients was 58 months (range: 4 – 78), and 333 patients had died. When BMI was assessed as a continuous measure, it was borderline significantly associated with OS (p=0.050). An indicator of whether or not BMI > 30 was also significantly associated with OS (HR=1.30; 95% CI: 1.01 – 1.68; p=0.042). Ever vs. never smokers also exhibited a survival disadvantage (HR=1.66; 95% CI: 1.12 – 2.44; p=0.011). When broken down further, former smokers who had smoked for >10 years (HR=1.61; 95% CI: 1.02 – 2.52; p=0.039) and current smokers (HR=1.79; 95% CI: 1.07 – 3.02; p=0.028) were at a survival disadvantage over those who had never smoked. When both smoking and BMI status were included in the model, only the indicator of being a current smoker remained statistically significant (p=0.031), with a trend toward decreased survival for former smokers who had smoked >10 years (p=0.061) and those with BMI >30 (p=0.058).

Conclusions: NHL patients who smoke or are obese had a poorer overall survival. These observations warrant further investigation, including whether interventions for smoking cessation or weight loss can impact NHL survival.

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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