Statistical modeling and projections of lung cancer mortality in 4 industrialized countries

Int J Cancer. 2005 Nov 10;117(3):476-85. doi: 10.1002/ijc.21078.


The purpose of this work was to model lung cancer mortality as a function of past exposure to tobacco and to forecast age-sex-specific lung cancer mortality rates. A 3-factor age-period-cohort (APC) model, in which the period variable is replaced by the product of average tar content and adult tobacco consumption per capita, was estimated for the US, UK, Canada and Australia by the maximum likelihood method. Age- and sex-specific tobacco consumption was estimated from historical data on smoking prevalence and total tobacco consumption. Lung cancer mortality was derived from vital registration records. Future tobacco consumption, tar content and the cohort parameter were projected by autoregressive moving average (ARIMA) estimation. The optimal exposure variable was found to be the product of average tar content and adult cigarette consumption per capita, lagged for 25-30 years for both males and females in all 4 countries. The coefficient of the product of average tar content and tobacco consumption per capita differs by age and sex. In all models, there was a statistically significant difference in the coefficient of the period variable by sex. In all countries, male age-standardized lung cancer mortality rates peaked in the 1980s and declined thereafter. Female mortality rates are projected to peak in the first decade of this century. The multiplicative models of age, tobacco exposure and cohort fit the observed data between 1950 and 1999 reasonably well, and time-series models yield plausible past trends of relevant variables. Despite a significant reduction in tobacco consumption and average tar content of cigarettes sold over the past few decades, the effect on lung cancer mortality is affected by the time lag between exposure and established disease. As a result, the burden of lung cancer among females is only just reaching, or soon will reach, its peak but has been declining for 1 to 2 decades in men. Future sex differences in lung cancer mortality are likely to be greater in North America than Australia and the UK due to differences in exposure patterns between the sexes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Developed Countries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology