143 patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) at the onset entered this perspective study on NHL-associated risk factors. They were 87 males and 56 females with a mean age of 52.3 years (range 14.6-82.3). An associated hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was found in 16 of the 143 NHL cases (11.2%; 95% CI 6.5-17.5). They were 11 males and 5 females [mean age 59.9] year with disseminated (13/16) or localized NHL disease (3/16)]. The NHL histological subgroup was low grade (6/16), intermediate grade (2/16) or high grade (8/16). The cell origin was B in 15/16 cases and B cell-T cell rich in 1/16. The discovery of HCV infection was contemporary to lymphoma diagnosis in 6/16 cases but preceded the NHL onset in the other 10 patients. In these 10 patients the median time between HCV infection diagnosis and NHL onset was 3.6 years (range 1-14.5). These data confirm that in Italy the prevalence of HCV infection in patients with NHL (11.2%) is significantly higher than expected in the general population (1.3-3.2%). The finding that, in most cases, HCV infection was definitely antecedent to NHL onset, usually by years, adds evidence to the possible causative role of the HCV in lymphomagenesis.
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