Lung cancer is the most frequent malignant neoplasm in most countries, and the main cancer-related cause of mortality worldwide in both sexes combined.
The geographic and temporal patterns of lung cancer incidence, as well as lung cancer mortality, on a population level are chiefly determined by tobacco consumption, the main aetiological factor in lung carcinogenesis.
Other factors such as genetic susceptibility, poor diet, occupational exposures and air pollution may act independently or in concert with tobacco smoking in shaping the descriptive epidemiology of lung cancer. Moreover, novel approaches in the classification of lung cancer based on molecular techniques have started to bring new insights to its aetiology, in particular among nonsmokers. Despite the success in delineation of tobacco smoking as the major risk factor for lung cancer, this highly preventable disease remains among the most common and most lethal cancers globally.
Future preventive efforts and research need to focus on non-cigarette tobacco smoking products, as well as better understanding of risk factors underlying lung carcinogenesis in never-smokers.
Tobacco smoking is the major determinant of lung cancer risk; genetics, occupation, pollution, poor diet also contribute http://ow.ly/4mRbUQ
Editorial comment in Eur Respir J 2016; 48: 626–627.
Support statement: This study was partly supported by the Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC; project no. 14360) Italian Foundation for Cancer Research (FIRC) and Ministero dell’ Istruzione, dell’ Università e della Ricerca (MIUR) Scientific Independence of Young Researchers (SIR) 2014 grant (project RBSI1465UH). Funding information for this article has been deposited with FundRef.
Conflict of interest: None declared.
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- Received February 17, 2016.
- Accepted April 4, 2016.
- Copyright ©ERS 2016