Gender and lung cancer

Clin Lung Cancer. 2004 May;5(6):353-9. doi: 10.3816/CLC.2004.n.013.


Although lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States, female smokers appear to be at increased risk. After controlling for the number of cigarettes smoked, female sex imparts a significant, independent risk for most histologic types of lung cancer. Cigarette smoking, genetics, and endocrine factors may interact to contribute to the disparity in lung cancer risk between the sexes. Estrogens have direct and indirect actions in the lung, and estrogen has been implicated in lung carcinogenesis in female smokers. This review of the literature will focus on endocrine factors and tobacco carcinogens as risk factors for lung cancer in women.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogens / adverse effects
  • Endocrine System / physiology
  • Estrogens / metabolism
  • Estrogens / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*


  • Carcinogens
  • Estrogens