Particulate matter air pollution components and risk for lung cancer

Environ Int. 2016 Feb;87:66-73. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2015.11.007. Epub 2015 Nov 28.

Abstract

Background: Particulate matter (PM) air pollution is a human lung carcinogen; however, the components responsible have not been identified. We assessed the associations between PM components and lung cancer incidence.

Methods: We used data from 14 cohort studies in eight European countries. We geocoded baseline addresses and assessed air pollution with land-use regression models for eight elements (Cu, Fe, K, Ni, S, Si, V and Zn) in size fractions of PM2.5 and PM10. We used Cox regression models with adjustment for potential confounders for cohort-specific analyses and random effect models for meta-analysis.

Results: The 245,782 cohort members contributed 3,229,220 person-years at risk. During follow-up (mean, 13.1 years), 1878 incident cases of lung cancer were diagnosed. In the meta-analyses, elevated hazard ratios (HRs) for lung cancer were associated with all elements except V; none was statistically significant. In analyses restricted to participants who did not change residence during follow-up, statistically significant associations were found for PM2.5 Cu (HR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.01-1.53 per 5 ng/m(3)), PM10 Zn (1.28; 1.02-1.59 per 20 ng/m(3)), PM10 S (1.58; 1.03-2.44 per 200 ng/m(3)), PM10 Ni (1.59; 1.12-2.26 per 2 ng/m(3)) and PM10 K (1.17; 1.02-1.33 per 100 ng/m(3)). In two-pollutant models, associations between PM10 and PM2.5 and lung cancer were largely explained by PM2.5 S.

Conclusions: This study indicates that the association between PM in air pollution and lung cancer can be attributed to various PM components and sources. PM containing S and Ni might be particularly important.

Keywords: Air pollution; Cohort study; Lung cancer; Nickel; Particulate matter; Sulfur.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Particle Size
  • Particulate Matter / analysis*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk

Substances

  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter