Risk factors for primary lung cancer among never smokers by gender in a matched case-control study

Cancer Causes Control. 2013 Mar;24(3):567-76. doi: 10.1007/s10552-012-9994-x. Epub 2012 May 22.


Objective: Lung cancers that occur in never smokers differ from those that occur in smokers. We performed an analysis of potential epidemiological risk factors for lung cancer among never smokers.

Methods: In this hospital-based matched case-control study, all 1,540 matched case-control pairs were Han Chinese in Taiwan. The data on demographic characteristics, smoking habit, exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, medical history of lung diseases, family history of lung cancer, and female characteristics were collected from a structured questionnaire. A multiple conditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios and 95 % confidence intervals after adjusting for possible confounders.

Results: Overall, several epidemiological factors of lung cancer in never smokers were different between males and females. For the female population, subjects who were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (OR = 1.39, 95 % CI = 1.17-1.67) with a history of pulmonary tuberculosis and with family history of lung cancer in first-degree relatives (OR = 2.44, 95 % CI = 1.79-3.32) had higher risk of lung cancer, while subjects with a history of hormone replacement therapy and using fume extractors for those who cooked were protective. For the male population, only subjects with family history of lung cancer in first-degree relatives (OR = 2.77, 95 % CI = 1.53-5.01) were significantly associated with risk of lung cancer.

Conclusion: This study provides insights about the epidemiological factors of lung cancer in never smokers, adding to existing evidence that family history of lung cancer and environmental tobacco smoke may moderate lung cancer risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / statistics & numerical data*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution