Cytogenetic biomarkers, chromosomal breaks [spontaneous breaks (SB) and bleomycin-induced breaks (BIB)], and sister chromatid exchange (SCE) have been shown to be sensitive cytological assays to defect susceptibility to DNA-damaging effects. However, little information is available on how environmental factors and demographic and clinical characteristics influence variation among individuals. We sought to characterize interindividual variability in a cohort of 105 untreated adult Hodgkin's disease patients. SB, BIB, and SCE data were integrated with epidemiological data by using linear regression analysis. Age, sex, ethnicity, education, histology, history of mononucleosis, and family history of cancer showed no association with any biomarker. In univariate analysis, alcohol intake was significantly associated with high SCEs (P = 0.005) and SBs (P = 0.02). Current smoking was associated only with high frequencies of SCE (P = 0.05). Advanced stage of disease was related with high SBs (P = 0.01). BIBs were not associated with any of the variables studied. In multivariate modeling, current alcohol intake was associated with high SCEs (P = 0.04) and SBs (P = 0.01). Former smokers had higher SBs than nonsmokers did (P = 0.02). A small positive correlation was found among each pair of markers. The higher SCEs and SBs in patients who smoke and consume alcohol indicate the need for evaluating these exposures when interpreting these biomarkers.