Tobacco use and nasopharyngeal carcinoma in a cohort of US veterans

Int J Cancer. 1993 Oct 21;55(4):538-40. doi: 10.1002/ijc.2910550403.


The risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), a relatively rare neoplasm in the United States, was examined in relation to tobacco use in a cohort of nearly 250,000 US veterans whose mortality experience was followed for 26 years. A total of 48 NPC deaths were identified during the follow-up period. Current smokers had a nearly 4-fold increase in risk of NPC compared with non-users of any tobacco, with risk increasing to 6.4 among those smoking more than 2 packs daily. After adjustment for age and number of cigarettes smoked, risks were inversely associated with age at starting to smoke, with the highest risk observed among those who started smoking before age 15, although no clear trend associated with duration of smoking was observed. Former cigarette smokers had a small excess risk of NPC, but no association was detected for cigar/pipe users. This study adds strong evidence to the increasing literature linking cigarette smoking to NPC.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Risk
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • United States