Cigarette smoking and cancer of the pancreas: evidence from a population-based case-control study in Toronto, Canada

Int J Cancer. 1991 Feb 1;47(3):323-8. doi: 10.1002/ijc.2910470302.


Results are reported with respect to smoking data from a population-based case-control study of pancreatic cancer conducted in Toronto, Canada, between 1983 and 1986. Lifetime smoking histories were obtained for 249 cases and 505 controls. A statistically highly significant positive association was observed between lifetime cigarette consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer. There was a rapid decrease in risk with time for those who quit cigarette smoking, the risk for ex-smokers being the same as for lifetime non-smokers between 10 and 15 years after quitting. Limiting exposure to the 15 years prior to diagnosis considerably strengthens the association and leads to a much more clearly defined dose-response relationship with relative risks of 1.88, 4.61, and 6.52 for tertiles of consumption for current cigarette smokers compared with lifetime non-smokers (p trend less than 10(-5)). We conclude that the current data, together with those from previous studies, strongly support a causal relationship between cigarette smoking and risk of pancreatic cancer, and indicate that cessation of smoking is likely to prove a rapidly effective preventive measure for this major type of cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors