Family History of Lung Cancer Doubles Risk

Family History of Lung Cancer Doubles Risk

According to an article recently published in the journal Chest, individuals with a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with lung cancer are at a two-fold increased risk of developing lung cancer, regardless of smoking status.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Although smoking is largely attributed to the prevalence of lung cancer, a significant portion of lung cancer patients have never smoked. Researchers continue to evaluate potential associations with the risk of developing lung cancer among never-smokers; an area of interest is genetic susceptibility to the disease.

Researchers from Japan recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate the risk of developing lung cancer among individuals with a first-degree relative who had been diagnosed with lung cancer. This study included 102,255 participants who were middle-age or older. Follow-up was 13 years.

  • Among individuals with a first-degree relative with lung cancer, the risk of developing lung cancer was nearly double.
  • The risk was greater in women than in men with a first-degree relative; however, men were still at a significantly higher risk of developing lung cancer.
  • The risk was particularly increased for a type of non–small cell lung cancer referred to as squamous cell lung cancer.

The researchers concluded that individuals with a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with lung cancer have approximately double the risk of developing lung cancer. Further studies will help explain these findings; however, patients should discuss their family history of lung cancer with their physician.

Reference: Natadori, J, et al. Association Between Lung Cancer Incidnece and Family History of Lung Cancer: Data From a Large-Scale Population-Based Cohort Study, the JPHC Study. Chest. 2006; 130:968-975.

Related News: Genetic Links to Lung Cancer (1/6/2006)

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