EPIC Working Groups - Cancer Working Groups

The Lung Cancer Working Group

Lung cancer remains the most important cause of cancer death worldwide, and cases diagnosed at a late stage have extremely poor survival rates. An important aim of the EPIC Lung Cancer Working Group is therefore to evaluate risk prediction models and identify pre-diagnostic biomarkers for early detection. The ultimate aim is to improve the validity of existing risk prediction models and improve screening efficacy. Examples of this work include risk modelling efforts1, as well as multiple projects currently under way at IARC.

Other major activities within the Working Group involve evaluations of the role of environmental tobacco exposure2 and social inequalities3, as well as identification of novel etiological factors that are independent of or modified by tobacco exposure. This is important as 5—10% of lung cancer cases occur among never-smokers, and in countries where anti-smoking campaigns have been successful, the majority of cases now occur in never-smokers or former smokers. This work includes studies on circulating vitamins4 and genome-wide association studies (GWAS)5 and has resulted in the establishment of larger projects led by EPIC investigators, such as the Lung Cancer Cohort Consortium (LC3), which focuses on lung cancer among never-smokers.

Selected publications:

  1. Hoggart C et al. A risk model for lung cancer incidence. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2012 Jun;5(6):834-46. PMID: 22496387

  2. Vineis P et al. Environmental tobacco smoke and risk of respiratory cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in former smokers and never smokers in the EPIC prospective study. BMJ. 2005 Feb 5;330(7486):277. PMID: 15681570

  3. Menvielle G et al. The role of smoking and diet in explaining educational inequalities in lung cancer incidence. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009 Mar 4;101(5):321-30. PMID: 19244178

  4. Johansson M et al. Serum B vitamin levels and risk of lung cancer. JAMA. 2010 Jun 16;303(23):2377-85. PMID: 20551408

  5. Hung RJ et al. A susceptibility locus for lung cancer maps to nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit genes on 15q25. Nature. 2008 Apr 3;452(7187):633-7. PMID: 18385738

Contact details/Working Group leader

Mattias Johansson, PhD
Genetic Epidemiology Group (GEP)
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO)
150 cours Albert Thomas 69008, Lyon, France