Original Paper

Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 317-328

First online:

Analysis of lung cancer incidence in the nurses’ health and the health professionals’ follow-up studies using a multistage carcinogenesis model

  • Rafael MezaAffiliated withDivision of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • , William D. HazeltonAffiliated withDivision of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • , Graham A. ColditzAffiliated withChanning Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolSiteman Cancer Center, Washington University Medical School
  • , Suresh H. MoolgavkarAffiliated withDivision of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Email author 

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Abstract

We analyzed lung cancer incidence among non-smokers, continuing smokers, and ex-smokers in the Nurses Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS) using the two-stage clonal expansion (TSCE) model. Age-specific lung cancer incidence rates among non-smokers are identical in the two cohorts. Within the framework of the model, the main effect of cigarette smoke is on the promotion of partially altered cells on the pathway to cancer. Smoking-related promotion is somewhat higher among women, whereas smoking-related malignant conversion is somewhat lower. In both cohorts the relative risk for a given daily level of smoking is strongly modified by duration. Among smokers, the incidence in NHS relative to that in HPFS depends both on smoking intensity and duration. The age-adjusted risk is somewhat larger in NHS, but not significantly so. After smokers quit, the risk decreases over a period of many years and the temporal pattern of the decline is similar to that reported in other recent studies. Among ex-smokers, the incidence in NHS relative to that in HPFS depends both on previous levels of smoking and on time since quitting. The age-adjusted risk among ex-smokers is somewhat higher in NHS, possibly due to differences in the age-distribution between the two cohorts.

Keywords

Lung cancer epidemiology Lung cancer age-specific incidence Never smokers lung cancer risk Smokers relative risk Ex-smokers relative risk Multistage carcinogenesis Two-stage clonal expansion model