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Background: The association between herpes zoster and the risk of lymphoid neoplasms in Asian populations has not yet been established. We performed a longitudinal follow-up study using a nationwide cohort to assess the risk of lymphoid neoplasms arising after herpes zoster infection in the adult Korean population. Methods: Data from participants ≥20 years of age who were registered in the Korean National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort database between 2002 and 2013 were collected. We extracted the data of participants with herpes zoster (n = 59,495) as well as those of matched references at a ratio of 1:4 (n = 237,980) and investigated the subsequent occurrence of lymphoid neoplasms. A stratified Cox proportional hazards model was used to calculate unadjusted hazard ratios (HRs) as well as those adjusted for the Charlson comorbidity index score. Results: The rate of lymphoid neoplasms was higher in the herpes zoster group (0.15% [90/59,495]) than in the reference group (0.08% [212/237,980], P < 0.001). The unadjusted and adjusted HRs of herpes zoster in patients with lymphoid neoplasms were 1.68 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.31-2.15) and 1.58 (95% CI = 1.23-2.02), respectively (P < 0.001 for both). On subgroup analyses according to age and sex, herpes zoster was associated with an increased risk of lymphoid neoplasms in all subgroups; the adjusted HRs were 1.53 (95% CI = 1.05-2.24) for patients < 60 years old, 1.58 (95% CI = 1.14-2.20) for patients ≥60 years old, 1.64 (95% CI = 1.16-2.31) for men, and 1.51 (95% CI = 1.06-2.16) for women (P < 0.05 for all). On subgroup analysis of lymphoid neoplasm subtypes, herpes zoster was associated with the risk of Hodgkin's disease (adjusted HR: 3.23 [95% CI = 1.17-8.93]) and multiple myeloma/malignant plasma cell neoplasms (adjusted HR: 2.17 [95% CI = 1.33-3.54]) (P < 0.05 for both). Conclusion: Herpes zoster is associated with lymphoid neoplasm development in the Korean population irrespective of age and sex. The risks of Hodgkin's disease and plasma cell neoplasms are significantly elevated in patients with herpes zoster.
Choi, H. G., Zehnder, J. L., Lee, Y. K., Lim, H., & Kim, M. (2019). Increased risk of lymphoid malignancy in patients with herpes zoster: A longitudinal follow-up study using a national cohort. BMC Cancer, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-019-6349-y