Asthma and lung cancer risk: A systematic investigation by the international lung cancer consortium

Albert Rosenberger, Heike Bickeböller, Valerie McCormack, Darren R. Brenner, Eric J. Duell, Anne Tjønneland, Soren Friis, Joshua E. Muscat, Ping Yang, H. Erich Wichmann, Joachim Heinrich, Neonila Szeszenia-Dabrowska, Jolanta Lissowska, David Zaridze, Peter Rudnai, Eleonora Fabianova, Vladimir Janout, Vladimir Bencko, Paul Brennan, Dana MatesAnn G. Schwartz, Michele L. Cote, Zuo Feng Zhang, Hal Morgenstern, Sam S. Oh, John K. Field, Olaide Raji, John R. McLaughlin, John Wiencke, Loic LeMarchand, Monica Neri, Stefano Bonassi, Angeline S. Andrew, Qing Lan, Wei Hu, Irene Orlow, Bernard J. Park, Paolo Boffetta, Rayjean J. Hung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Asthma has been hypothesized to be associated with lung cancer (LC) risk. We conducted a pooled analysis of 16 studies in the International Lung Cancer Consortium (ILCCO) to quantitatively assess this association and compared the results with 36 previously published studies. In total, information from 585 444 individuals was used. Study-specific measures were combined using random effects models. A meta-regression and subgroup meta-analyses were performed to identify sources of heterogeneity. The overall LC relative risk (RR) associated with asthma was 1.28 [95% confidence intervals (CIs) = 1.16-1.41] but with large heterogeneity (I2 = 73%, P < 0.001) between studies. Among ILCCO studies, an increased risk was found for squamous cell (RR = 1.69, 9=%, CI = 1.26-2.26) and for small-cell carcinoma (RR = 1.71, 9=% CI = 0.99-2.95) but was weaker for adenocarcinoma (RR = 1.09, 95% CI = 0.88-1.36). The increased LC risk was strongest in the 2 years after asthma diagnosis (RR = 2.13, 95% CI = 1.09-4.17) but subjects diagnosed with asthma over 10 years prior had no or little increased LC risk (RR = 1.10, 95% CI = 0.94-1.30). Because the increased incidence of LC was chiefly observed in small cell and squamous cell lung carcinomas, primarily within 2 years of asthma diagnosis and because the association was weak among never smokers, we conclude that the association may not reflect a causal effect of asthma on the risk of LC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-597
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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