Physical activity and lung cancer among non-smokers: a pilot molecular epidemiological study within EPIC

Biomarkers. 2010 Feb;15(1):20-30. doi: 10.3109/13547500903186452.


The association between physical activity, potential intermediate biomarkers and lung cancer risk was investigated in a study of 230 cases and 648 controls nested within the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer and Nutrition. Data on white blood cell aromatic-DNA adducts by (32)P-post-labelling and glutathione (GSH) in red blood cells were available from a subset of cases and controls. Compared with the first quartile, the fourth quartile of recreational physical activity was associated with a lower lung cancer risk (odds ratio (OR) 0.56, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.35-0.90), higher GSH levels (+1.87 micromol GSH g(-1) haemoglobin, p = 0.04) but not with the presence of high levels of adducts (OR 1.05, 95% CI 0.38-2.86). Despite being associated with recreational physical activity, in these small-scale pilot analyses GSH levels were not associated with lung cancer risk (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.84-1.07 per unit increase in GSH levels). Household and occupational activity was not associated with lung cancer risk or biomarker levels.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA Adducts / analysis
  • Erythrocytes / chemistry
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Glutathione / analysis
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / chemistry
  • Lung Neoplasms / blood
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Epidemiology / methods
  • Motor Activity*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking*


  • Biomarkers
  • DNA Adducts
  • Glutathione