Head of Research Group for Work, Environment & Cancer
Danish Cancer Society Research Center
2100 Copenhagen Ø
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Answer: The study shows that people who live at locations with higher levels of particles in the air are at higher risk for development of lung cancer.
It seems that there is no threshold for air pollution with particles below which there is no risk; the results show that it is more like “the more air pollution the worse and the less pollution the better”.
The strongest association was seen for adenocarcinoma of the lung.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Answer: Previous studies suggested that people who lived in areas with higher levels of air pollution were at higher risk for developing lung cancer. So this study rather confirms a strong suspicion than showing unexpected results. However, it might be unexpected that we could identify no threshold for air pollution with particles below which there is no risk.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Answer: The magnitude of the risk at the individual level is important. The risk increase in association with ambient air pollution with particles seems to be similar to the risk increase in association with passive smoking – which is much lower than the risk for lung cancer in association with active smoking. Although the risk in association with air polluted with particles is relatively small for the individual (at least compared to active tobacco smoking), it is important to notice that we are all exposed to, more or less, air pollution every day. Therefore, a small increase in risk for all individuals can add up to many extra lung cancer cases if we consider whole populations. Thus, one implication of the study is that further reductions in the concentration of particles in the air will reduce the number of lung cancer cases in Europe. This also applies to reductions of air pollution even below the existing limit values for particles in the air.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Answer: Particles – as measured in this study – is a mixture of types and sizes, and with many different substances attached on their surface, and coming from many different sources. If future research identifies particularly harmful types of particles, more focused action could be taken to decrease the concentration of particulate air pollution and the related the negative health effect.
Air pollution and lung cancer incidence in 17 European cohorts: prospective analyses from the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE)
Dr Ole Raaschou-Nielsen PhD,Zorana J Andersen PhD,Rob Beelen PhD,Evangelia Samoli PhD,Massimo Stafoggia MSc,Gudrun Weinmayr PhD,Prof Barbara Hoffmann MD,Paul Fischer MSc,Mark J Nieuwenhuijsen PhD,Prof Bert Brunekreef PhD,Wei W Xun MPH,Prof Klea Katsouyanni PhD,Konstantina Dimakopoulou MSc,Johan Sommar MSc,Prof Bertil Forsberg PhD,Lars Modig PhD,Anna Oudin PhD,Bente Oftedal PhD,Per E Schwarze PhD,Prof Per Nafstad MD,Prof Ulf De Faire PhD,Prof Nancy L Pedersen PhD,Prof Claes-Göran Östenson PhD,Laura Fratiglioni PhD,Johanna Penell PhD,Michal Korek MSc,Prof Göran Pershagen PhD,Kirsten T Eriksen PhD,Mette Sørensen PhD,Anne Tjønneland DMSc,Thomas Ellermann PhD,Marloes Eeftens MSc,Prof Petra H Peeters PhD,Kees Meliefste BSc,Meng Wang MSc,Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita PhD,Prof Timothy J Key DPhil,Kees de Hoogh PhD,Hans Concin MD,Gabriele Nagel PhD,Alice Vilier MSc,Sara Grioni BSc,Vittorio Krogh MD,Ming-Yi Tsai PhD,Fulvio Ricceri PhD,Carlotta Sacerdote PhD,Claudia Galassi MD,Enrica Migliore MSc,Andrea Ranzi PhD,Giulia Cesaroni MSc,Chiara Badaloni MSc,Francesco Forastiere PhD,Ibon Tamayo MSc,Pilar Amiano MSc,Miren Dorronsoro MD,Prof Antonia Trichopoulou MD,Christina Bamia PhD,Prof Paolo Vineis MPH,Gerard Hoek PhD
The Lancet Oncology – 1 August 2013 ( Vol. 14, Issue 9, Pages 813-822 )