Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Recent High-Quality Studies on Exposure to Particulate Matter and Risk of Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer

Environ Res. 2020 Nov 9:110440. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.110440. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Several aspects of the association between exposure to air pollution and risk of lung cancer remain unclear.

OBJECTIVE: We aimed at performing a meta-analysis of high-quality cohort studies on exposure to particulate matter (PM) 10 and PM2.5 and risk of lung cancer.

METHODS: We identified cohort studies published since 2004, that reported risk estimates of lung cancer for exposure to PM2.5 and PM10 adjusted for tobacco smoking and socioeconomic status, and conducted a meta-analysis based on random-effects models, including stratification by outcome, sex, country, tobacco smoking, and age.

RESULTS: Results on PM2.5 exposure were available from 15 studies; the summary relative risk (RR) for an increase of 10 μg/m3 was 1.16 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.09, 1.23). The corresponding RR for PM10 exposure was 1.23 (95 CI 1.05, 1.40; seven studies). A higher risk was suggested in studies based on lung cancer mortality and in studies conducted in East Asia, while no difference was shown according to sex, smoking status or age. There was no suggestion of publication bias.

CONCLUSIONS: Our meta-analysis supported the hypothesis of an association between exposure to PM2.5 or PM10 and risk of lung cancer, and provided evidence that the magnitude of the risk might be higher than previously estimated, and might be modified by outcome and geographic region.