Residential radon exposure and cigarette smoking in association with lung cancer: A matched case-control study in Korea

Eung Joo Park, Hokyou Lee, Hyeon Chang Kim, Seung Soo Sheen, Sang Baek Koh, Ki Soo Park, Nam Han Cho, Cheol Min Lee, Dae Ryong Kang

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Residential radon exposure and cigarette smoking are the two most important risk factors for lung cancer. The combined effects thereof were evaluated in a multi-center matched case-control study in South Korea. A total of 1038 participants were included, comprising 519 non-small cell lung cancer cases and 519 age-and sex-matched community-based controls. Residential radon levels were measured for all participants. Multivariate logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) for lung cancer according to radon exposure (high ≥ 100 Bq/m3 vs. low < 100 Bq/m3), smoking status, and combinations of the two after adjusting for age, sex, indoor hours, and other housing information. The median age of the participants was 64 years, and 51.3% were women. The adjusted ORs (95% confidence intervals [CIs]) for high radon and cigarette smoking were 1.56 (1.03–2.37) and 2.53 (1.60–3.99), respectively. When stratified according to combinations of radon exposure and smoking status, the adjusted ORs (95% CIs) for lung cancer in high-radon non-smokers, low-radon smokers, and high-radon smokers were 1.40 (0.81–2.43), 2.42 (1.49-3.92), and 4.27 (2.14–8.52), respectively, with reference to low-radon non-smokers. Both residential radon and cigarette smoking were associated with increased odds for lung cancer, and the difference in ORs according to radon exposure was much greater in smokers than in non-smokers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2946
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 2

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Korean Ministry of Environment as part of the “Environmental Health

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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