Some inherited abnormalities of the immune system are linked to a greater risk of developing Hodgkin's lymphoma. This is revealed by a study by the Institute of Cancer Research in London.
The study analyzes data from over 5,300 cases of Hodgkin's lymphoma and 16,749 from a control group. To date it is the most extensive study concerning specifically Hodgkin's lymphoma. It then opens up a series of interesting perspectives for the treatment and prevention of the disease. In fact, there is a need for new therapies that act where standard treatments fail.
Scientists have identified 6 new genetic variations that increase the risk of developing the tumor. It seems that 5 of these also affect the functions of the immune system, in particular the development of B lymphocytes. Among these, 3 have already been associated with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Hodgkin's lymphoma is a blood cancer that affects the B lymphocytes, the most affected by the anomalies identified. The study also identified genetic differences between two types of lymphoma, the nodular and the mixed cellularity
According to the researchers, the results do not indicate that those suffering from autoimmune diseases are more likely to develop lymphoma. Rather, they allow a better understanding of both lymphoma and autoimmune diseases from a genetic point of view. They will also allow to improve the diagnosis and to develop specific treatments for the different types of cancer.