Women and lung cancer: epidemiology, tumor biology, and emerging trends in clinical research

Lung Cancer. 2007 Jan;55(1):15-23. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2006.09.008. Epub 2006 Nov 3.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in both men and women. Environmental carcinogens, particularly tobacco smoke, play a dominant role in the development of lung cancer, although 10-15% of all patients diagnosed are non-smokers. In addition, emerging data demonstrate sex-specific differences in lung cancer susceptibility and prognosis. This implies that the development of lung cancer is modulated by complex interactions between genetic, hormonal, behavioral, and environmental factors. A better understanding of the differences between men and women and their impact on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of lung cancer requires continued basic and clinical research. Recent data on the epidemiological aspects of lung cancer in women, lung tumor biology, and emerging trends in clinical research were presented at a thought leaders' roundtable hosted by the Society for Women's Health Research. The panel concluded that as the patient population in lung cancer is changing from mostly male smokers to include women and non-smokers, an urgent need exists to increase awareness and research funding to improve lung cancer care, particularly in women. To further improve survival in this disease, both clinical characteristics and tumor biology should be considered in the development of new treatment options.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Women's Health*