Autoimmune diseases and malignant lymphomas have numerous similarities in their etiology and pathogenesis. Patients with autoimmune disorders have increased risk to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, yet little is known about the occurrence of autoimmune features within lymphoma patients. Our aim was to examine the prevalence of autoimmune diseases among patients with non-Hodgkin's (NHL) and Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL). We reviewed 352 patients' charts with malignant lymphomas to assess the rate of associated autoimmune diseases. Of 231 NHL patients, 30 (12.9%) had autoimmune disorders, while there were 11 patients who suffered from more than one disease entity. It was Sjögren's syndrome that occurred in the largest number (eight cases), other frequent entities were undifferentiated connective tissue disease (seven), thyroiditis (six), rheumatoid arthritis (four), and systemic vasculitis (four). The female/male ratio was significantly different between patients with or without autoimmune diseases, while no other clinical features differed significantly between the two groups. Ten patients (33.3%) were initially diagnosed with lymphoma, 13 (43.3%) of them had already been diagnosed with autoimmune disease at the time of lymphoma occurrence. Six patients (20%) with previously diagnosed immunological disorder developed new autoimmune condition after the treatment of lymphoma. Lymphoma and autoimmune disease occurred simultaneously in one patient. Among the 121 HL patients, 14 (11.5%) had associated autoimmune disease. Ten patients developed thyroiditis after the lymphoma treatment, two had immune thrombocytopenia, and one had autoimmune hemolytic anemia. One female patient was diagnosed with systemic sclerosis 10 years before the onset of HL. Our results highlight that an increased risk for the development of autoimmune diseases should be considered in patients both with NHL and HL.
- Autoimmune disease
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