Residential radon exposure, histologic types, and lung cancer risk. A case-control study in Galicia, Spain

Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 05/11/2012

Barros-Dios JM et al. – The presence of airborne radon even at low concentrations poses a risk of developing lung cancer, with tobacco habit increasing considerably this risk.


  • A hospital-based case–control design was conducted in two Spanish hospitals.
  • Consecutive cases with histologic diagnosis of lung cancer and controls undergoing trivial surgery not tobacco-related were included.
  • Residential radon was measured using standard procedures.
  • Results were obtained using logistic regression.


  • Three hundred and forty-nine cases and 513 controls were included.
  • Radon exposure posed a risk even with a low exposure, with those exposed to 50 to 100 Bq/m3 having an OR of 1.87 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.21–2.88] and of 2.21 (95% CI, 1.33–3.69) for those exposed to 148 Bq/m3 or more.
  • Tobacco increased appreciably the risk posed by radon, with an OR of 73 (95% CI, 19.88–268.14) for heavy smokers exposed to more than 147 Bq/m3.
  • Less frequent histologic types (including large cell carcinomas), followed by small cell lung cancer, had the highest risk associated with radon exposure.

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