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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Indoor Air Pollution and Lung Cancer in Asia

About half of the world’s population is exposed to smoke from heating or cooking with solid fuels. To study the role of indoor air pollution from solid fuel use in lung cancer risk, particularly among never-smoking women, DCEG investigators conducted a series of investigations in Xuanwei County, China, where lung cancer rates among never-smoking women are among the highest in the world. A retrospective cohort study found that improving home ventilation by installing stoves with chimneys was associated with large decreased risks of lung cancer, COPD, and pneumonia. A new case-control study of never-smoking female lung cancer that includes an extensive exposure assessment component is being conducted to identify the components of coal combustion products that drive lung cancer risk in this population and the genetic variants that modify effects. 

To expand the study of the environmental and genetic etiology of lung cancer among never-smoking women, investigators formed the Female Lung Cancer Consortium in Asia and conducted the first large-scale genome-wide association study (GWAS) of lung cancer among never-smoking females anywhere in the world. This study recently identified novel loci that have not been linked to lung cancer among smokers in either Asia or the West, and found evidence for gene-environment interactions with environmental tobacco smoke exposure.

Reference: Lan Q, Hsiung CA, Matsuo K, et al. Genome-wide association analysis identifies new lung cancer susceptibility loci in never-smoking women in Asia. Nat Genet 2012; Epub Nov 11, 2012.

For more information, contact Qing Lan.

Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch - Research Areas