Medical student’s research links benzene exposure and non-Hodgkin lymphoma
A new Lancet Planetary Health study shows a statistically significant association between non-Hodgkin lymphoma and exposure to benzene, which has been detected in many household products and, recently, sunscreens.
The paper’s researchers, led by second-year UIC medical student Iemaan Rana, examined the potential link by evaluating previously published human studies using electronic systematic review and meta-analysis.
Rana and her colleagues found a dose-dependent association, meaning greater exposure to benzene was associated with a higher risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or NHL. And, they uncovered a doubling of this risk for an NHL subtype called diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and increased risks for follicular lymphoma and hairy cell leukemia.
“The study sheds new light on our understanding of benzene as a carcinogen and provides compelling evidence that benzene not only causes leukemia, but also lymphoma,” Rana said.
Rana, also a student at UC Berkeley School of Public Health, worked with Luoping Zhang, study principal investigator, and Sarah Dahlberg and Craig Steinmaus, all of Berkeley Public Health.
In their conclusion, the authors argued that their findings of a strong association combined with evidence in the literature satisfied recognized scientific considerations for causation.