Tuesday, September 25, 2012

American Cancer Society: increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in ME/CFS, proves again that ME/CFS is a physical disease

Chronic fatigue syndrome and subsequent risk of cancer among elderly US adults

Cindy M. Chang PhD, MPH1, Joan L. Warren PhD2, Eric A. Engels MD, MPH1

Article first published online: 30 MAY 2012 DOI: 10.1002/cncr.27612

Copyright © 2012 American Cancer Society


  • lymphoma;
  • chronic fatigue;
  • cancer;
  • etiology



The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is unknown but is thought to be associated with immune abnormalities or infection. Because cancer can arise from similar conditions, associations between CFS and cancer were examined in a population-based case-control study among the US elderly.


Using linked Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare registry data, approximately 1.2 million cancer cases and 100,000 controls (age range, 66-99 years; 1992-2005) were evaluated. CFS was identified in the period more than 1 year prior to selection, using linked Medicare claims. Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) comparing the CFS prevalence in cases and controls, adjusting for age, sex, and selection year. All statistical tests were 2-sided.


CFS was present in 0.5% of cancer cases overall and 0.5% of controls. CFS was associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (OR = 1.29, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.16-1.43, P = 1.7 × 10−6). Among NHL subtypes, CFS was associated with diffuse large B cell lymphoma (OR = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.12-1.61), marginal zone lymphoma (OR = 1.88, 95% CI = 1.38-2.57), and B cell NHL not otherwise specified (OR = 1.51, 95% CI = 1.03-2.23). CFS associations with NHL overall and NHL subtypes remained elevated after excluding patients with medical conditions related to CFS or NHL, such as autoimmune conditions. CFS was also associated, although not after multiple comparison adjustment, with cancers of the pancreas (OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.07-1.47), kidney (OR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.07-1.49), breast (OR = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.74-0.98), and oral cavity and pharynx (OR = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.49-1.00).


Chronic immune activation or an infection associated with CFS may play a role in explaining the increased risk of NHL. Cancer 2012. © 2012 American Cancer Society.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to send this to my friend who has ME so that she can give a copy of it to her ridiculously dismissive GP. Physical implications of such a horrendous illness are clear to see here and surely, even the most stupid and ignorant of GP's could not fail to sit up and take notice of this?

Hope said...

The patients in this study had CFS which is a misdiagnosis, a failure to determine what is causing the patient's symptoms of more than 6 months' fatigue. The cohort was not diagnosed with ME(WHO G93.3), and publishing the study as ME/CFS is fraudulent. ME patients need good science and honest advocates to help us, not this sly joke of ME/CFS or CFS/ME.


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