Nav: Home

Study: Bacterium that causes Q fever linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma

October 13, 2015

(WASHINGTON, October, 13, 2015) -The bacterium that causes Q fever, an infectious disease that humans contract from animals, is associated with an increased risk of lymphoma, according to a study published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

Q fever is caused by infection with Coxiella burnetii, a bacterium primarily transmitted through the excrement of cattle, sheep, and goats. Approximately 3 percent of healthy adults in the United States and 10-20 percent of those in high-risk occupations such as veterinarians and farmers have antibodies for C. burnetii, suggesting previous infection.1 Symptoms of Q fever vary from person to person and can be acute and resolve spontaneously, or chronic and persistent. Because some patients have been reported to also suffer from lymphoma, researchers believed that this type of cancer could be a risk factor for Q fever. However, the experience of one patient prompted doctors to consider the opposite - that the infection might actually cause the lymphoma.

"During a follow-up scan in a patient we had successfully treated for Q fever, we observed a tumor close to the location of the previous infection," said senior study author Didier Raoult, MD, PhD, of Aix-Marseille University in Marseille, France. "The discovery that it was a lymphoma tumor containing C. burnetii encouraged us to consider that the infection might have contributed to the development of the cancer."

In order to better understand the association between C. burnetii and lymphoma, Dr. Raoult and colleagues screened 1,468 patients treated at the French National Referral Center for Q Fever from 2004 to 2014. Investigators conducted imaging of patient tissue samples to identify seven people, including the initial patient, who developed lymphoma after C. burnetii infection (6 patients were diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and one with follicular lymphoma). Of all the Q fever patients included in the study, 440 presented a persistent infection concentrated to one area.

To determine if patients with Q fever have a higher risk of lymphoma than the general population, researchers compared the incidence of lymphoma in the Q fever registry to the incidence reported in France's general population. Based on this analysis, researchers conclude that patients with Q fever are 25 times more likely to develop diffuse large B-cell lymphoma than those without the infection. In addition, the odds of lymphoma in patients with persistent concentrated infections are higher than those with other forms of Q fever.

Upon further imaging of the patient samples, investigators observed that Q fever patients with lymphoma demonstrate overproduction of the critical anti-inflammatory pathway interleukin-10 (IL-10), suggesting that suppression of the immune system may have allowed the lymphoma cells to evade immune detection and multiply.

"As we continue to learn more about the association between C. burnetii and lymphoma, these results should encourage clinicians to survey high-risk patients as early as possible for potential cancer," said Dr. Raoult. "Ultimately, this early diagnosis and treatment would improve outcomes for Q fever patients who subsequently develop lymphoma, particularly those with B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma."
-end-
Blood, the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field of hematology, is available weekly in print and online. Blood is the official journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), the world's largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders.

ASH's mission is to further the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting blood, bone marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems by promoting research, clinical care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology.

blood® is a registered trademark of the American Society of Hematology.

1. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Accessed from: http://www.cdc.gov/qfever/symptoms/index.html (Accessed: 10/2015).]?

American Society of Hematology

Related Cancer Articles:

Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Cancer genomics continued: Triple negative breast cancer and cancer immunotherapy
Continuing PLOS Medicine's special issue on cancer genomics, Christos Hatzis of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., USA and colleagues describe a new subtype of triple negative breast cancer that may be more amenable to treatment than other cases of this difficult-to-treat disease.
Metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread identified
Osaka University researchers revealed that the metabolite D-2-hydroxyglurate (D-2HG) promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells, leading them to develop features of lower adherence to neighboring cells, increased invasiveness, and greater likelihood of metastatic spread.
UH Cancer Center researcher finds new driver of an aggressive form of brain cancer
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers have identified an essential driver of tumor cell invasion in glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer that can occur at any age.
UH Cancer Center researchers develop algorithm to find precise cancer treatments
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers developed a computational algorithm to analyze 'Big Data' obtained from tumor samples to better understand and treat cancer.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans
More than test scores or good grades — what do kids need to prepare them for the future? This hour, guest host Manoush Zomorodi and TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, in and out of the classroom. Guests include educators Olympia Della Flora and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...