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Int J Epidemiol. 1997 Feb;26(1):14-23.

The increasing incidence of lung adenocarcinoma: reality or artefact? A review of the epidemiology of lung adenocarcinoma.

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Pulmonary Division, Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, (Quebec), Canada.


Lung adenocarcinoma is the most common cell type in females (smokers or non-smokers) and in non-smoking males. Its incidence has been increasing in younger cohorts of males and females until very recent years. Changes in classification and in pathological techniques account for some of this increase. In females and non-smoker males, the increase could be partly due to a detection bias in former studies. Nevertheless, successive cohorts over time seem more likely to develop adenocarcinoma and less likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma. These differences between birth cohorts suggest that the increasing incidence of adenocarcinoma is not only due to changes in pathological diagnosis. Geographical differences are also observed: in Europe, the squamous cell type still predominates and an increase in incidence of adenocarcinoma has only been reported in the Netherlands. In Asia, in the 1960s and 1970s, the proportion of adenocarcinoma was higher than in North America or Europe and seems to be increasing. To what extent these differences are due to differences. In establishing diagnosis remains unknown. Despite these biases in temporal and geographical trends detailed in this review, there has probably been a true increase in incidence of adenocarcinoma. An explanation for this should be sought in studies on detailed smoking history and passive smoking exposure, occupational exposure, diet and cooking, pollution and other environmental factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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