Outdoor particulate matter (PM10) exposure and lung cancer risk in the EAGLE study

Dario Consonni, Michele Carugno, Sara De Matteis, Francesco Nordio, Giorgia Randi, Martina Bazzano, Neil E. Caporaso, Margaret A. Tucker, Pier Alberto Bertazzi, Angela C. Pesatori, Jay H. Lubin, Maria Teresa Landi

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Objective Cohort studies in Europe, but not in North-America, showed an association between exposure to outdoor particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter ≤10 μm (PM10) and lung cancer risk. Only a case-control study on lung cancer and PM10 in South Korea has so far been performed. For the first time in Europe we analyzed quantitatively this association using a case-control study design in highly polluted areas in Italy. Methods The Environment And Genetics in Lung cancer Etiology (EAGLE) study, a population-based case-control study performed in the period 2002-2005 in the Lombardy Region, north-west Italy, enrolled 2099 cases and 2120 controls frequency-matched for area of residence, gender, and age. For this study we selected subjects with complete active and passive smoking history living in the same municipality since 1980 until study enrollment. Fine resolution annual PM10 estimates obtained by applying land use regression modeling to satellite data calibrated with fixed site monitor measurements were used. We assigned each subject the PM10 average estimates for year 2000 based on enrollment address. We used logistic regression models to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusted for matching variables, education, smoking, and dietary and occupational variables. Results We included 3473 subjects, 1665 cases (1318 men, 347 women) and 1808 controls (1368 men, 440 women), with PM10 individual levels ranging from 2.3 to 53.8 μg/m3 (mean: 46.3). We found increasing lung cancer risk with increasing PM10 category (P-value for trend: 0.04). The OR per 10 μg/m3 was 1.28 (95% CI: 0.95-1.72). The association appeared stronger for squamous cell carcinoma (OR 1.44, 95% CI: 0.90-2.29). Conclusion In a population living in highly polluted areas in Italy, our study added suggestive evidence of a positive association between PM10 exposure and lung cancer risk. This study emphasizes the need to strengthen policies to reduce airborne pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0203539
JournalPLoS One
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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