Study finds increase in number of non-smokers being diagnosed with lung cancer

September 4, 2012, European Lung Foundation

There has been an increase in the number of non-smokers being diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, according to new findings.

The report, which will be presented today at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Vienna, also found an increase in the number of women being diagnosed with the condition.

Little is known about risk factors that can cause in non-smokers, although recently the (WHO) confirmed earlier this year that from diesel engines were a cause of lung cancer.

Over the last decade, the management of lung cancer has changed considerably with and new being used. Researchers from the French College of General Hospital Respiratory Physicians aimed to examine the effect of these changes and understand the incidence and effects of lung cancer amongst the population.

They studied 7,610 people with lung cancer and 7,610 new cases of lung cancer in France in 2010; 6,083 had . The study follows on from a similar investigation in 2000, which also examined the characteristics of new cases of lung cancer.

Researchers collected background information on each patient, including age, smoking history, the histology of their cancer, which involves analysing tissue to understand variations in the disease, and the stage of their lung cancer upon diagnosis.

The results found an increase in the number of women and non-smokers developing lung cancer. 11.9% of the lung cancer cases in the study were non-smokers, which had also increased from 7.9% from 10 years previously. 24.4% of in the 2010 study were female; an increase from 16% in 2000. When looking at the or former-smokers in the study, lung cancer rates had barely changed from 64% in 2000 to 66% in 2010. This figure had decreased in men, in addition to the rate of male never-smokers also increasing.

Additionally, the study also found that 58% of people with lung cancer were diagnosed at stage 4 of the disease. This is the most advanced stage of the disease, when the cancer has spread to both lungs, or another part of the body. This marks an increase of 15 percentage points from 43% in 2000, although authors believe this could be due to a new classification of the different stages of the disease. The study also found a change in the type of lung cancer with an increase in the number of people developing adenocarcinoma from 35.8% to 53.5%.

Lead author, Dr Chrystèle Locher, said: "We have seen from these results the change in lung cancer over the last 10 years. Not only has there been an increase in the number of women and non-smokers contracting the disease, but there has also been an increase in the number of cases diagnosed in stage 4 of the illness.

"We recently saw that the WHO have classified diesel fumes as carcinogenic, but more research is needed to understand other factors that could contribute to lung cancer in non-smokers. Anti-smoking campaigns must also target women more specifically, as we can see little change in lung cancer rates caused by smoking in women.

"It is also important to note changes in the type of lung cancer. The prevalence of cases of adenocarcinoma lung cancer is growing and further research is needed to understand the characteristics of this form of the disease."

Explore further: Latest research confirms genetic susceptibility to lung cancer

Related Stories

Latest research confirms genetic susceptibility to lung cancer

April 15, 2012
Previous research has shown that Asian patients with lung cancer are more likely to harbor epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations. Furthermore, Asian patients with lung cancer are more likely to be non-smokers ...

Lung tumors in never-smokers show greater genomic instability than those in smokers

July 5, 2011
Lung adenocarcinomas in people who have never smoked show greater genome instability than those in smokers, supporting the theory that lung cancer in never smokers arises through different pathways, according to research ...

Early COPD detection could help lung cancer diagnosis

November 16, 2011
Early screening of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may help to detect lung cancer at an earlier stage, according to a new study.

Recommended for you

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus

January 17, 2018
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise ...

Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read

January 17, 2018
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted—revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.

Presurgical targeted therapy delays relapse of high-risk stage 3 melanoma

January 17, 2018
A pair of targeted therapies given before and after surgery for melanoma produced at least a six-fold increase in time to progression compared to standard-of-care surgery for patients with stage 3 disease, researchers at ...

Dulling cancer therapy's double-edged sword

January 17, 2018
Researchers have discovered that killing cancer cells can actually have the unintended effect of fueling the proliferation of residual, living cancer cells, ultimately leading to aggressive tumor progression.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.