To further investigate the possible relationships between agricultural pesticide exposure and the increased risk of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma among farm workers in the north central United States, we performed G-banded chromosome analyses of peripheral blood from workers classified according to primary types of pesticide exposure: herbicides (n = 20), insecticides (n = 18), fumigants (n = 23), and occupationally unexposed controls (n = 33). Significantly increased rearrangement frequencies were demonstrated in fumigant and insecticide appliers compared to control subjects. At certain chromosome bands there were significant excesses of breaks observed in pesticide appliers, but no breaks were observed in controls. Some of these bands contained genes with potential implications for cancer risk, including oncogenes and genes involved in tumor suppression and apoptosis. Of particular interest with regard to lymphoma risk were the excess rearrangement and breaks involving band 14q32 in fumigant appliers and the excess breaks involving band 18q21 in herbicide appliers; translocations linking 14q32 and 18q21 are the most common rearrangements observed in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients. The potential pathobiological relevance of these cytogenetic events warrants additional investigation at the molecular level.

This content is only available via PDF.