The epidemiology of lung cancer in Xuan Wei, China: current progress, issues, and research strategies

Arch Environ Health. Mar-Apr 1988;43(2):180-5. doi: 10.1080/00039896.1988.9935850.


In Xuan Wei, a rural Chinese county of about one million people, females' annual lung cancer mortality is China's highest, and males' is among China's highest. Xuan Wei's very high indoor air pollution levels (sometimes exceeding 20 mg/m3), residentially stable population, relatively uncomplicated lifestyle, and wide geographic variation in lung cancer mortality render it highly amenable to quantitative, interdisciplinary investigation of chemical carcinogens due to indoor air pollution. To date, epidemiologic findings reveal a closer association of lung cancer with the indoor burning of "smoky" coal (as opposed to "smokeless" coal or wood) than with tobacco use or occupation. Current aerometric, chemical, and toxicologic findings tend to confirm this association, though the specific carcinogenic constituents of Xuan Wei indoor air pollution have not yet been determined. Chinese and American investigators are conducting interdisciplinary field and laboratory investigations to quantify the lung cancer risk attendant on indoor air pollution relative to other factors, to measure and compare the characteristics of pollution from different Xuan Wei fuels, to determine the relative etiologic importance of pollution composition and concentration, and to develop quantitative relationships between air pollution dose and lung cancer risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Carcinogens*
  • China
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoke / adverse effects
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Air Pollutants
  • Carcinogens
  • Smoke