Never smokers and lung cancer risk: a case-control study of epidemiological factors

Int J Cancer. 2006 Apr 1;118(7):1798-804. doi: 10.1002/ijc.21561.


We performed an analysis of potential epidemiological risk factors for lung cancer using data from 280 cases and 242 hospital-based controls, all lifetime never smokers (those who had smoked <100 cigarettes in their lifetimes) and frequency matched on age, gender and ethnicity. The data on demographic characteristics, medical history of respiratory diseases (asthma, emphysema, pneumonia and hay fever), weight and height, family history, female characteristics and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and dust exposure were derived from personal interviews. We performed a logistic regression analysis of these variables adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity, income and years of education. Exposure to ETS (OR = 2.08, 95% CI [1.25-3.43]) and dusts (OR = 2.43, 95% CI [1.53-3.88]) were associated with significantly increased risk. In the analysis for joint effects, exposure to both ETS and dusts conferred a higher risk (OR = 3.25, 95% CI [1.58-6.70]) than exposure to either alone. Family history of any cancer with onset before age 50 in at least 1 first degree relative was a significant risk predictor (OR = 1.70, 95% CI [1.10-2.64]). Individuals with a self-reported physician-diagnosed history of hay fever, but not asthma, had a decreased lung cancer risk (OR = 0.57, 95% CI [0.35-0.92]). In the multivariate analysis, exposure to ETS and dusts, and family history of cancer with onset before age 50 were significant risk factors, while a history of hay fever (occurring without asthma) was significantly protective.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Asthma
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dust
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pedigree
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal
  • Risk Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*


  • Dust
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution