Lung cancer and environmental chemical exposure: A review of our current state of knowledge with reference to the role of hormones and hormone receptors as an increased risk factor for developing lung cancer in man

Alexsandra Fucic, Marija Gamulin, Zeljko Ferencic, Dinko Stancic Rokotov, Jelena Katic, Alena Bartonova, Ingrid Belac Lovasic, Domenico Franco Merlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Lung cancer is a dominant cause of cancer mortality. The etiology of lung cancer is mainly related to cigarette smoking, airborne genotoxic carcinogens, and arsenic, but its sex-specific incidence suggests that other mechanisms, such as hormones, may also be involved in the process of carcinogenesis. A number of agents commonly present in the living environment can have dual biological effects: not only are they genotoxic / carcinogenic, but they are also hormonally active as xenoestrogens. This dualism may explain sex-specific differences reported in both types and incidence of lung cancer. In a novel approach to investigate the complexity of lung cancer, etiology, including systems biology, will be used as a tool for a simultaneous interpretation of measurable environmental and biological parameters. Using this approach, the etiology of human lung cancer can be more thoroughly investigated using the available data from oncology and environmental health. The information gained could be applied in the introduction of preventive measures, in personalized medicine, and in more relevant legislation, which should be adjusted to reflect the current knowledge on the complex environmental interactions underlying this life-threatening disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-855
Number of pages7
JournalToxicologic Pathology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010



  • environment
  • lung cancer
  • pollution
  • radiation
  • xenoestrogen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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