Baecklund F, Foo JN, Askling J, Eloranta S, Glimelius I, Liu J, Hjalgrim H, Rosenquist R, Padyukov L, Smedby KE
Am. J. Epidemiol. 185 (8) 681-687 [2017-04-15; online 2017-04-04]
Follicular lymphoma (FL) risk is strongly associated with germline genetic variation in human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II. Cigarette smoking has been suggested to increase FL risk, primarily among women. We hypothesized that amino acids in HLA-antigen D-related β1 subunit (DRB1) interact with smoking in FL risk, as shown for rheumatoid arthritis. We analyzed 373 patients with FL and 818 controls from 2 population-based case-control studies in Sweden and Denmark (1999-2003). Haplotypes in HLA-DRB1 were imputed at amino acid positions 11, 13, 28, 30, and 70-74 (shared epitope). We estimated the relative risk of FL as odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals for different smoking status/haplotype combinations. Interaction was defined as departure from additivity of effects and quantified by the attributable proportion (AP). Relative to never-smokers carrying no shared epitope alleles, smoking was associated with the risk of FL among all subjects (for former smokers, odds ratio (OR) = 2.20, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.10, 4.41; ORcurrent = 3.56, 95% CI: 1.60, 7.92) and women (ORformer = 2.95, 95% CI: 1.18, 7.37; ORcurrent = 5.63, 95% CI: 2.07, 15.3) carrying 2 shared epitope alleles but not among those carrying zero or 1 shared epitope allele. Smoking and shared epitope status interacted significantly as measured by AP (overall, AP = 0.6, 95% CI: 0.15, 1.0; for women, AP = 0.5, 95% CI: 0.005, 1.0). These results suggest a possible interaction between smoking and HLA-DRB1-associated antigen presentation in FL risk and provide a model to further unravel FL etiology.