Tattoos and hematologic malignancies in British Columbia, Canada

Freda M. Warner, Maryam Darvishian, Terry Boyle, Angela R. Brooks-Wilson, Joseph M. Connors, Agnes S. Lai, Nhu D. Le, Kevin Song, Heather Sutherland, Ryan R. Woods, Parveen Bhatti, John J. Spinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Tattoos may cause a variety of adverse reactions in the body, including immune reactions and infections. However, it is unknown whether tattoos may increase the risk of lymphatic cancers such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and multiple myeloma. Methods: Participants from two population-based case–control studies were included in logistic regression models to examine the association between tattoos and risk of NHL and multiple myeloma. Results: A total of 1,518 participants from the NHL study (737 cases) and 742 participants from the multiple myeloma study (373 cases) were included in the analyses. No statistically significant associations were found between tattoos and risk of NHL or multiple myeloma after adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, education, body mass index, and family history. Conclusions: We did not identify any significant associations between tattoos and risk of multiple myeloma, NHL, or NHL subtypes in these studies. Impact: Though biologically plausible, tattoos were not associated with increased risk of NHL or multiple myeloma in this study. Future studies with greater detail regarding tattoo exposure may provide further insights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2093-2095
Number of pages3
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Oct 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology

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