Cardiorespiratory fitness and lung cancer risk: A prospective population-based cohort study

J Sci Med Sport. 2016 Feb;19(2):98-102. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2015.02.008. Epub 2015 Mar 10.


Objectives: Little is known about the role of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) with the risk of lung cancer. Previous research shows that maintaining a sufficient amount of physical activity may have a protective effect against cancer. The aim of this study is to examine the associations of CRF, LTPA and lung cancer among middle-aged Finnish men.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Methods: In a population-based cohort study of 2305 men from Eastern Finland with no history of cancer at baseline. CRF and LTPA data was collected at baseline, 73 cases of lung cancer occurred during an average follow-up of 20-years.

Results: In a multivariate adjusted model, every 3.8mL/kg/min (1 SD) increase of CRF was related to a 31% decrease in lung cancer risk across all VO2max quartiles. Furthermore, a 2.8-fold (95% CI 1.14-7.22, p=0.024) increased risk of lung cancer among men in the lowest quartile (≤20.3mL/kg/min) of CRF as compared those in the highest quartile (>35.1mL/kg/min). In a multivariate adjusted model LTPA was not associated to lung cancer.

Conclusions: In middle-aged men with no history of lung cancer, increasing levels of CRF serves as a protective factor against lung cancer. Increasing CRF may reduce the risk of lung cancer. Furthermore, CRF is a better predictor of lung cancer than LTPA.

Keywords: Leisure activities; Lung neoplasms; Male; Physical fitness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise*
  • Finland
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Factors