The team quantified the risk for developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma of any primary site associated with celiac disease.
The findings of the study were published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The multicenter, case-control study was conducted between January 1996 and December 1999 throughout Italy.
A total of 653 cases with non-Hodgkin lymphoma of any primary site and histological type were identified (all older than 20 years, median age of 57 years).
Controls were healthy adults (2739 men and 2981 women) from the general population.
The researchers identified patients with a positive test result for class A serum antiendomysial antibody.
Celiac disease was diagnosed in 6 (0.9%) of the patients with lymphoma.
Of the 6 cases, 3 were of B-cell and 3 were of T-cell origin.
Four of 6 cases had lymphoma primarily located in the gut.
| Celiac patients 3-times more likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
| Journal of the American Medical Association |
In the control group, the team found that 24 (0.4%) had celiac disease.
The odds ratio (adjusted for age and sex) for non-Hodgkin lymphoma of any primary site associated with celiac disease was found to be 3.1. For gut lymphoma and T-cell lymphoma, the odds ratios were 16.9 and 19.2, respectively.
The risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma for the overall population, which was adjusted for age and sex, was 0.6%.
Dr Carlo Catassi, of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, said on behalf of his group, "Celiac disease is associated with an increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, especially of T-cell type and primarily localized in the gut."
"However, the association does not represent a great enough risk to justify early mass screening for celiac disease," he concluded.