HLA homozygosity is associated with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Christina L. Roark, Bethany E. Ho, Michael T. Aubrey, Cheri Anobile, Sapir Israeli, Tzu L. Phang, Danielle Braxton, Andrea P. Ho, Brian M. Freed

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2 Scopus citations


The “heterozygote advantage” hypothesis has been postulated regarding the role of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), where homozygous loci are associated with an increased risk of disease. In this retrospective study, we analyzed the HLA homozygosity of 3789 patients with aplastic anemia (AA), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), multiple myeloma (MM), and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) at HLA-A, B, C, DRB1 and DQB1 loci compared to 169,964 normal controls. HLA homozygosity at one or more loci was only associated with an increased risk in NHL patients (OR = 1.28, 95% CI [1.09, 1.50], p = 0.002). This association was not seen in any of the other hematologic diseases. Homozygosity at HLA-A alone, HLA-B + C only, and HLA-DRB1 + DQB1 only was also significantly associated with NHL. Finally, we observed a 17% increased risk of NHL with each additional homozygous locus (OR per locus = 1.17, 95% CI [1.08, 1.25], p trend = 2.4 × 10−5). These results suggest that reduction of HLA diversity could predispose individuals to an increased risk of developing NHL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)730-735
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics


  • HLA antigens
  • Homozygosity
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma


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