The higher incidence of non–Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in males is not well understood. Although reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been implicated as causes of NHL, they cannot be measured directly in archived blood.
We performed untargeted adductomics of stable ROS adducts in human serum albumin (HSA) from 67 incident NHL cases and 82 matched controls from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Italy cohort. Regression and classification methods were employed to select features associated with NHL in all subjects and in males and females separately.
Sixty seven HSA-adduct features were quantified by liquid chromatography–high-resolution mass spectrometry at Cys34 (n = 55) and Lys525 (n = 12). Three features were selected for association with NHL in all subjects, while seven were selected for males and five for females with minimal overlap. Two selected features were more abundant in cases and seven in controls, suggesting that altered homeostasis of ROS may affect NHL incidence. Heat maps revealed differential clustering of features between sexes, suggesting differences in operative pathways.
Adduct clusters dominated by Cys34 oxidation products and disulfides further implicate ROS and redox biology in the etiology of NHL. Sex differences in dietary and alcohol consumption also help to explain the limited overlap of feature selection between sexes. Intriguingly, a disulfide of methanethiol from enteric microbial metabolism was more abundant in male cases, thereby implicating microbial translocation as a potential contributor to NHL in males.
Only two of the ROS adducts associated with NHL overlapped between sexes and one adduct implicates microbial translocation as a risk factor.