Red blood cell membrane trans fatty acid levels and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma: a prospective nested case-control study

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine; Meyers Primary Care Institute

Publication Date


Document Type



Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Epidemiology | Hemic and Lymphatic Diseases | Human and Clinical Nutrition | Neoplasms | Nutritional Epidemiology | Translational Medical Research


BACKGROUND: Trans fatty acid (TFA) intake persists in much of the world, posing ongoing threats to public health that warrant further elucidation. Published evidence suggests a positive association of self-reported TFA intake with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) risk.

OBJECTIVES: To confirm those reports, we conducted a prospective study of prediagnosis RBC membrane TFA levels and risk of NHL and common NHL histologic subtypes.

METHODS: We conducted a nested case-control study in Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study participants with archived RBC specimens and no history of cancer at blood draw (1989-1090 and 1994-1995, respectively). We confirmed 583 incident NHL cases (332 women and 251 men) and individually matched 583 controls on cohort (sex), age, race, and blood draw date/time. We analyzed RBC membrane TFA using GLC (in 2013-2014) and expressed individual TFA levels as a percentage of total fatty acids. We used unconditional logistic regression adjusted for the matching factors to estimate ORs and 95% CIs for overall NHL risk per 1 SD increase in TFA level and assessed histologic subtype-specific associations with multivariable polytomous logistic regression.

RESULTS: Total and individual TFA levels were not associated with risk of all NHL or most subtypes. We observed a positive association of total TFA levels with diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) risk [n = 98 cases; OR (95% CI) per 1 SD increase: 1.30 (1.05, 1.61); P = 0.015], driven by trans 18:1n-9(omega-9)/elaidic acid [OR (95% CI): 1.34 (1.08, 1.66); P = 0.007], trans 18:1n-7/vaccenic acid [OR (95% CI): 1.28 (1.04, 1.58); P = 0.023], and trans 18:2n-6t,t [OR (95% CI): 1.26 (1.01, 1.57); P = 0.037].

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings extended evidence for TFA intake and DLBCL risk but not for other NHL subtypes. Reduced TFA consumption through dietary choices or health policy measures may support prevention of DLBCL, an aggressive NHL subtype.


UMCCTS funding, trans fatty acids, Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, Nurses’ Health Study, etiology, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, nutritional epidemiology, risk factor

DOI of Published Version



Ardisson Korat AV, Chiu YH, Bertrand KA, Zhang S, Epstein MM, Rosner BA, Chiuve S, Campos H, Giovannucci EL, Chavarro JE, Birmann BM. Red blood cell membrane trans fatty acid levels and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma: a prospective nested case-control study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Oct 6:nqaa251. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa251. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33022699. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The American journal of clinical nutrition

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