The Relationship Between Air Pollution and Lung Cancer in Nonsmokers in Taiwan

Chien Hua Tseng, Ben Jei Tsuang, Chun Ju Chiang, Kai Chen Ku, Jeng Sen Tseng, Tsung Ying Yang, Kuo Hsuan Hsu, Kun Chieh Chen, Sung Liang Yu, Wen Chung Lee, Tsang Wu Liu, Chang Chuan Chan, Gee Chen Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: For never-smokers (smoked <100 lifetime cigarettes), lung cancer (LC) has emerged as an important issue. We aimed to investigate the effects of prevalence changes in tobacco smoking and particulate matter (PM) 2.5 (PM 2.5 ) levels on LC in Taiwan, in relation to contrasting PM 2.5 levels, between Northern Taiwan (NT) and Southern Taiwan (ST). Methods: We reviewed 371,084 patients with LC to assess smoking prevalence and correlations between the incidence of adenocarcinoma lung cancer (AdLC) and non-AdLC. Two subsets were selected to assess different AdLC stage trends and the effect of PM 2.5 on survival of patients with AdLC. Results: From 1995 to 2015, the proportion of male adult ever-smokers decreased from 59.4% to 29.9% whereas the female smoking rate remained low (3.2% to 5.3%). AdLC incidence in males and females increased from 9.06 to 23.25 and 7.05 to 24.22 per 100,000 population, respectively. Since 1993, atmospheric visibility in NT improved (from 7.6 to 11.5 km), but deteriorated in ST (from 16.3 to 4.2 km). The annual percent change in AdLC stages IB to IV was 0.3% since 2009 (95% confidence interval [CI]: -1.9%–2.6%) in NT, and 4.6% since 2007 (95% CI: 3.3%–5.8%) in ST; 53% patients with LC had never smoked. Five-year survival rates for never-smokers, those with EGFR wild-type genes, and female patients with AdLC were 12.6% in NT and 4.5% in ST (hazard ratio: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.70–0.90). Conclusions: In Taiwan, greater than 50% of patients with LC had never smoked. PM 2.5 level changes can affect AdLC incidence and patient survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)784-792
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Thoracic Oncology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2019


  • air pollution
  • lung adenocarcinoma
  • particulate matter
  • population attributable fractions
  • smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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