Residential radon and lung cancer characteristics in never smokers

Int J Radiat Biol. 2015 Aug;91(8):605-10. doi: 10.3109/09553002.2015.1047985. Epub 2015 Jun 17.


Purpose: The aim of this study is to assess if there is a relationship between residential radon and lung cancer histological types and patients' age at diagnosis.

Materials and methods: We conducted a multicenter hospital-based case-control study with eight participating hospitals. We included 216 never-smoking cases with primary lung cancer and 329 never-smoking controls. Controls were frequency matched with cases on age and sex distribution. Of them, 198 cases (91.7%) and 275 controls (83.5%) had residential radon measurements.

Results: Lung cancer risk reached statistical significance only for adenocarcinoma (Odds ratio [OR] 2.19; 95% Confidence interval [CI] 1.44-3.33), for other histologies the results were marginally significant. Residential radon level was higher for patients diagnosed before 50 and 60 years old than for older lung cancer cases.

Conclusions: Residential radon in never smokers seems to be a risk factor for all lung cancer histologies. Individuals diagnosed at a younger age have a higher residential radon concentration, suggesting an accumulative effect on lung cancer appearance.

Keywords: Lung neoplasms; case-control studies; histologic type; multicenter study; radon.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / statistics & numerical data*
  • Air Pollution, Radioactive / statistics & numerical data*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Housing / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / pathology
  • Radiation Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Radon / analysis*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Spain / epidemiology


  • Radon