Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2017 Aug 21;125(8):087013.
doi: 10.1289/EHP1249.

Ambient Air Pollution and Cancer Mortality in the Cancer Prevention Study II

Free PMC article

Ambient Air Pollution and Cancer Mortality in the Cancer Prevention Study II

Michelle C Turner et al. Environ Health Perspect. .
Free PMC article


Background: The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified both outdoor air pollution and airborne particulate matter as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1) for lung cancer. There may be associations with cancer at other sites; however, the epidemiological evidence is limited.

Objective: The aim of this study was to clarify whether ambient air pollution is associated with specific types of cancer other than lung cancer by examining associations of ambient air pollution with nonlung cancer death in the Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS-II).

Methods: Analysis included 623,048 CPS-II participants who were followed for 22 y (1982-2004). Modeled estimates of particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter <2.5µm (PM2.5) (1999-2004), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) (2006), and ozone (O3) (2002-2004) concentrations were linked to the participant residence at enrollment. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate associations per each fifth percentile-mean increment with cancer mortality at 29 anatomic sites, adjusted for individual and ecological covariates.

Results: We observed 43,320 nonlung cancer deaths. PM2.5 was significantly positively associated with death from cancers of the kidney {adjusted hazard ratio (HR) per 4.4 μg/m3=1.14 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03, 1.27]} and bladder [HR=1.13 (95% CI: 1.03, 1.23)]. NO2 was positively associated with colorectal cancer mortality [HR per 6.5 ppb=1.06 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.10). The results were similar in two-pollutant models including PM2.5 and NO2 and in three-pollutant models with O3. We observed no statistically significant positive associations with death from other types of cancer based on results from adjusted models.

Conclusions: The results from this large prospective study suggest that ambient air pollution was not associated with death from most nonlung cancers, but associations with kidney, bladder, and colorectal cancer death warrant further investigation.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 16 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. American Cancer Society. 2016. Cancer Facts & Figures 2016. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society.
    1. Ancona C, Badaloni C, Mataloni F, Bolignano A, Bucci S, Cesaroni G., et al. 2015. Mortality and morbidity in a population exposed to multiple sources of air pollution: a retrospective cohort study using air dispersion models. Environ Res 137:467–474, PMID: 25701728, 10.1016/j.envres.2014.10.036. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Beckerman BS, Jerrett M, Serre M, Martin RV, Lee SJ, van Donkelaar A., et al. 2013. A hybrid approach to estimating national scale spatiotemporal variability of PM2.5 in the contiguous United States. Environ Sci Technol 47(13):7233–7241, PMID: 23701364, 10.1021/es400039u. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Beeson WL, Abbey DE, Knutsen SF. 1998. Long-term concentrations of ambient air pollutants and incident lung cancer in California adults: results from the AHSMOG study. Adventist Health Study on Smog. Environ Health Perspect 106(12):813–822, PMID: 9831542. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Brook RD, Rajagopalan S, Pope CA III, Brook JR, Bhatnagar A, Diez-Roux AV., et al. 2010. Particulate matter air pollution and cardiovascular disease: an update to the Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation 121(21):2331–2378, PMID: 20458016, 10.1161/CIR.0b013e3181dbece1. - DOI - PubMed

Publication types