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Cancer Causes Control. 2004 Oct;15(8):819-27.

Prior lung disease and risk of lung cancer in a large prospective study.

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Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.



While 75-90% of people who develop lung cancer are smokers, only a small proportion of smokers develop lung cancer. Identifying factors that increase a smoker's risk of developing lung cancer may help scientists to better understand the etiology of lung cancer and more effectively target high-risk groups for screening.


Information on physician-diagnosed non-malignant lung diseases [asbestosis, asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema (CB/E), pneumonia, and tuberculosis] was obtained at baseline from 17,698 men and women involved in CARET, a randomized lung cancer prevention trial of beta-carotene and vitamin A among heavy smokers and asbestos-exposed workers. Hazard ratios for lung cancer were estimated through Cox regression models, after controlling for potential confounding factors, included smoking. Analyses were restricted to former and current smokers.


During a median follow up of 9.1 years, 1028 cases of lung cancer occurred. Those who developed lung cancer were more likely to report a history of CB/E than controls (adjusted HR = 1.29, 95% CI: 1.09-1.53). In subgroup analyses, the association between a history of CB/E and lung cancer was stronger for those who were younger at diagnosis/reference, men in the heavy smoker cohort, former smokers, and those with squamous cell carcinomas. There was little association between a history of other lung diseases and lung cancer.


Smokers with a history of CB/E may be at higher risk of developing lung cancer, independent of their smoking history.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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