Europe-wide study finds long-term exposure to even low levels of air pollution increases risk of lung cancer

July 9, 2013, Lancet

Prolonged exposure to particulate air pollution increases the risk of lung cancer (particularly adenocarcinoma) even at levels below the European Union limit values, according to one of the largest studies of its kind published in The Lancet Oncology.

"At this stage, we might have to add air pollution, even at current concentrations, to the list of causes of lung cancer and recognise that air pollution has large effects on public health", warns Takashi Yorifuji from Okayama University Graduate School of Environmental and Life Science and Saori Kashima from Hiroshima University in Japan in a linked Comment.

Ole Raaschou-Nielsen from the Danish Cancer Society Research Center led a European team of researchers to assess the impact of long-term exposure to nitrogen oxides and particulate matter (those with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers; PM2.5, and less than 10 micrometers; PM10) on the risk of lung cancer. Sources of particulate matter air pollution include traffic, industry, and domestic heating.

Using data from the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE), coordinated at the University of Utrecht, the investigators did a of 17 cohort studies in nine European countries including almost 313 000 people.

Air pollution concentration was estimated at the home addresses using land-use regression models. Participants were tracked for new lung cancer diagnoses in national and local cancer registries, and the researchers applied statistical modelling to separate the influence of air pollutants from other factors like smoking, diet, and occupation.

Among the participants, 2095 developed lung cancer during the average 13 years of follow up.

The analysis found that for every increase of 5 micrograms per cubic meter of PM2.5 pollution, the risk of lung cancer rose by 18%, and for every increase of 10 micrograms per cubic meter in PM10 pollution the risk increased by 22%, with stronger effects indicated for adenocarcinomas. No association between lung cancer and was noted.

According to the authors, "The association between and the risk for persisted also at concentrations below the existing European Union air quality limit values for PM10 (40 ?g/m3) and PM2.5 (25 ?g/m3). We found no threshold below which there was no risk; the results showed a picture that 'the more the worse, the less the better'."

Explore further: Exposure to traffic-related air pollution linked to autism

More information: www.thelancet.com/journals/lan … (13)70279-1/abstract

Related Stories

Exposure to traffic-related air pollution linked to autism

January 8, 2013
(HealthDay)—Exposure to traffic-related air pollution, including nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter less than 2.5 and 10 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5 and PM10), during gestation and the first year of life is associated ...

Study finds air pollution and noise pollution increase cardiovascular risk

May 20, 2013
Both fine-particle air pollution and noise pollution may increase a person's risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to German researchers who have conducted a large population study, in which both factors were ...

Exposure to traffic air pollution in infancy impairs lung function in children

October 12, 2012
Exposure to ambient air pollution from traffic during infancy is associated with lung function deficits in children up to eight years of age, particularly among children sensitized to common allergens, according to a new ...

Air pollution increases risk of insulin resistance in children

May 9, 2013
New research shows that growing up in areas where air pollution is increased raises the risk of insulin resistance (the prescursor to diabetes) in children. The research is published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European ...

Declining air pollution levels continue to improve life expectancy in US

December 3, 2012
A new study led by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) has found an association between reductions in fine particulate matter and improved life expectancy in 545 counties in the U.S. from 2000 to 2007. It ...

Recommended for you

Researchers develop a remote-controlled cancer immunotherapy system

January 15, 2018
A team of researchers has developed an ultrasound-based system that can non-invasively and remotely control genetic processes in live immune T cells so that they recognize and kill cancer cells.

Pancreatic tumors may require a one-two-three punch

January 15, 2018
One of the many difficult things about pancreatic cancer is that tumors are resistant to most treatments because of their unique density and cell composition. However, in a new Wilmot Cancer Institute study, scientists discovered ...

New immunotherapy approach boosts body's ability to destroy cancer cells

January 12, 2018
Few cancer treatments are generating more excitement these days than immunotherapy—drugs based on the principle that the immune system can be harnessed to detect and kill cancer cells, much in the same way that it goes ...

Cancer's gene-determined 'immune landscape' dictates progression of prostate tumors

January 12, 2018
The field of immunotherapy - the harnessing of patients' own immune systems to fend off cancer - is revolutionizing cancer treatment today. However, clinical trials often show marked improvements in only small subsets of ...

FDA approves first drug for tumors tied to breast cancer genes

January 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the first drug aimed at treating metastatic breast cancers linked to the BRCA gene mutation.

Breast cancer gene does not boost risk of death: study

January 12, 2018
Young women with the BRCA gene mutation that prompted actress Angelina Jolie's pre-emptive and much-publicised double mastectomy are not more likely to die after a breast cancer diagnosis, scientists said Friday.

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.