December 4, 2009

Secondhand Smoke in Childhood Raises Adult Lung Cancer Risk

By Kelley Luckstein

Children exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke are at increased risk for lung cancer later in life -- even if they never smoke themselves, researchers said.

That risk is also modulated by genetic variation in a gene involved in innate immunity, according to Curtis Harris, MD, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues.


The findings come from a study in the December issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, which is dedicated to tobacco research.

Harris and colleagues looked at the risk of lung cancer among participants in the National Cancer Institute-Maryland Lung Cancer study and also in an independent case-control study at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Both findings were confirmed in the Mayo study, which enrolled 461 people who had never smoked, including 172 lung cancer patients and 289 controls. The lung cancer risks were as follows:

  • Exposed to smoke in childhood (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.00 to 2.15).
  • MBL2 variation linked to high circulating levels of MBL and increased gene activity (OR 2.78, 95% CI 1.18 to 3.85).

MedPage Today, by Michael Smith, 12/3/09

Tags: Cancer

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