Released: January 16, 2003
In previous updates on the health risk to veterans posed by exposure to Agent Orange and other chemicals used in Vietnam, all forms of leukemia were considered collectively when examining research on links between exposure to herbicides and the risk for cancer.
The combined evidence was found to be inadequate or insufficient to determine whether any association exists between leukemia and exposure to the herbicides or contaminants in them.
However, a recent re-examination of the evidence revealed sufficient evidence of an association between exposure to herbicides sprayed during the Vietnam War and the risk for development of a specific form of leukemia – chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) – in veterans.
Although classified as a form of leukemia, CLL shares many traits with Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, both of which previously have found to be positively associated with herbicide exposure. Both CLL and lymphomas originate from malignant B-cells, and CLL can transform into an aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma known as Richter’s Syndrome.
The report made recommendations for future scientific studies on the health effects of herbicides and contaminants used in Vietnam, including further investigation of glioblastomas and astrocytomas.
Original Source: http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/reports/2003/veterans-and-agent-orange-update-2002.aspx