Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) represents a diverse group of hematological malignancies, of which follicular lymphoma (FL) is a prevalent subtype. A previous genome-wide association study has established a marker, rs10484561 in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II region on 6p21.32 associated with increased FL risk. Here, in a three-stage genome-wide association study, starting with a genome-wide scan of 379 FL cases and 791 controls followed by validation in 1,049 cases and 5,790 controls, we identified a second independent FL-associated locus on 6p21.32, rs2647012 (ORcombined = 0.64, P-combined= 2x10(-21)) located 962 bp away from rs10484561 (r(2)< 0.1 in controls). After mutual adjustment, the associations at the two SNPs remained genome-wide significant (rs2647012: ORadjusted = 0.70, P-adjusted= 4x10(-12); rs10484561: ORadjusted = 1.64, P-adjusted= 5x10(-15)). Haplotype and coalescence analyses indicated that rs2647012 arose on an evolutionarily distinct haplotype from that of rs10484561 and tags a novel allele with an opposite (protective) effect on FL risk. Moreover, in a follow-up analysis of the top 6 FL-associated SNPs in 4,449 cases of other NHL subtypes, rs10484561 was associated with risk of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (ORcombined = 1.36, P-combined = 1.4x10(-7)). Our results reveal the presence of allelic heterogeneity within the HLA class II region influencing FL susceptibility and indicate a possible shared genetic etiology with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. These findings suggest that the HLA class II region plays a complex yet important role in NHL.
2011. Vol. 7, no 4, e1001378- p.