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Transfusion History and Cancer Risk in Older Women

James R. Cerhan, PhD; Robert B. Wallace, MD; Aaron R. Folsom, MD; John D. Potter, MD, PhD; Ronald G. Munger, PhD; and Ronald J. Prineas, MD, PhD
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From the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota; The University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa; the University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida. Disclaimer: The contents of this paper are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute. Acknowledgments: The authors thank Dr. Susan Kaye, Dr. Thomas Sellers, Kathleen McKeen, and Ching Ping Hong for their contributions. Grant Support: In part by grant R01-CA 39742 from the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Cerhan was supported by NIH training grant T32 CA099607.


Copyright 2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1993;119(1):8-15. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-119-1-199307010-00002
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Objective: To test the hypothesis that history of blood transfusion is associated with an increased incidence of cancer in older women.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: General community in the state of Iowa.

Participants: Random sample of 37 337 cancer-free Iowa women ages 55 to 69 years.

Measurements: Transfusion history was assessed with a mailed questionnaire completed in January 1986. Cancer incidence in 5 years was ascertained by a population-based cancer registry.

Results: Women who had ever received a blood transfusion were at an increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (relative risk [RR] = 2.20; 95% CI, 1.35 to 3.58) and kidney cancer (RR = 2.53; CI, 1.34 to 4.78). The relative risks for these cancers were greater with decreasing time from first transfusion. No increased risk occurred for cancers of the breast, lung, uterine corpus, ovary, pancreas, colon, rectum, skin (melanoma), or for all cancers considered together.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that previous blood transfusion may be a risk factor for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and kidney cancer but is not associated with the most common neoplasms.

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