Investigators have discovered that women with certain reproductive factors may have an elevated risk of developing lung cancer, according to recent findings presented by Zhang et al at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 2023 World Conference on Lung Cancer (Abstract OA13.03).
Study Methods and Results
In a prospective study, the investigators used the UK Biobank to analyze the data of 273,190 individuals—with the goal of better understanding the potential links between individual reproductive factors and the risk of developing lung cancer. The investigators also sought to determine how risk factors such as age, smoking status, body mass index, genetic risk, and histologic subtypes might impact the likelihood of developing lung cancer in specific subgroups.
After a median follow-up of 12 years, the investigators identified 1,182 lung cancer cases and found that several reproductive factors had a significant association with a higher risk of incident lung cancer among women—including early menarche (age ≤ 11 years), early menopause (age ≤ 46 years or 47–49 years), a shorter reproductive span (age ≤ 32 years or 33–35 years), and early age at first birth (age ≤ 20 years or 21–25 years).
After conducting a stratified analysis, the investigators revealed that women with high genetic susceptibility; detrimental behaviors; and specific reproductive factors such as early menopause, a shortened reproductive span, and early age at first birth had a substantially greater risk of developing lung cancer—particularly non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
"These findings are of paramount importance in our understanding of the potential risk factors for lung cancer among women," stressed lead study author Y. Zhang, of the Xiangya Hospital at Central South University. "Early menarche, early menopause, and a shortened reproductive life span are associated with higher risks of incident lung cancer, especially NSCLC, in subpopulations with specific genetic risk and lifestyle choices,” she underscored.
The investigators emphasized the importance of screening for multiple reproductive factors when determining the potential risk of lung cancer among women. They hope their new findings may help health-care professionals understand these associations and develop targeted preventive strategies and interventions to combat lung cancer effectively.The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.