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Creating Lung Cancer Risk Models For Specific Populations Refines Prediction

MD Anderson News Release 09/05/08

Lung cancer risk prediction models are enhanced by taking into account risk factors by race and by measuring DNA repair capacity, according to research teams led by epidemiologists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in two complementary papers appearing in the September issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

In the first study to focus on African-Americans, researchers found unique results based on increased exposure to certain risks. Based upon these findings, a specific model was developed to further refine the predictability of lung cancer in this population, according to lead author Carol Etzel, Ph.D., assistant professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Epidemiology.

"African-Americans have similar risk factors for lung cancer as Caucasians, but the risks tend to be higher, and there is a stronger association with occupational exposures, such as wood dust and asbestos, than we have previously observed for whites," said Etzel. "Additionally, we determined the risks associated with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are substantially higher than those noted in Caucasian subjects." COPDs, such as emphysema, raise a person's risk for lung cancer.

The study focused on those who self-reported as being black, and who represented approximately 14 percent of the overall study population. Study participants were recruited from M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, TX. The control population, which was matched on the basis of age, sex and ethnicity, was recruited from Houston-area community centers and the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Houston's largest multi-specialty physician group practice. The African-American model was validated on an independent sample of African-American lung cancer cases and controls from two lung cancer studies being conducted in metropolitan Detroit.

"The challenge for us is to try to predict which of the United States' estimated 45 million current smokers and 46 million former smokers are at highest risk for developing lung cancer. Accurate prediction models may identify subgroups of these smokers who will benefit most from intensive screening programs and behavioral interventions," said


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