Pulmonary function as a predictor of lung cancer mortality in continuing cigarette smokers and in quitters

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Analysis of Variance; Cholesterol; Counseling; Follow-Up Studies; Forced Expiratory Volume; Humans; Hypertension; Lung; Lung Neoplasms; Male; Middle Aged; Proportional Hazards Models; Risk Assessment; Smoking; Smoking Cessation


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Women's Studies


BACKGROUND: Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV(1)) may be useful for identifying smokers at higher risk of lung cancer. We examined the association of FEV(1) with lung cancer mortality (LCM) among cigarette smokers in the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT).

METHODS: In all, 6613 MRFIT baseline smokers alive at trial end in 1982 had acceptable FEV(1) measures and complete smoking history; men were classified as during-trial long-term quitters (N = 1292), intermittent quitters (1961), and never quitters (3360). Proportional hazards models for LCM were fit with quintiles of average FEV(1), adjusted for age, height, race, smoking history, and other risk factors.

RESULTS: For long-term, intermittent, and never quitters respectively, mean baseline cigarettes/ day was 28, 32, and 35; trial-averaged FEV(1) was 3201, 3146, and 3082 ml; and average decline in FEV(1) was -46.0, -54.6, and -62.5 ml/year. With median post-trial mortality follow-up of 18 years, there were 363 lung cancer deaths. Age-adjusted LCM rates varied across FEV(1) quintiles from 50 (lowest quintile) to 11 (highest quintile), 58 to 11, and 76 to 20, per 10 000 person-years, for long-term quitters, intermittent quitters, and never quitters, respectively. Multivariate adjusted hazard ratios for 100 ml higher FEV(1) were 0.92 [P = 0.004], 0.95 [P = 0.003], and 0.95 [P < 0.0001] respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate the strong predictive value of FEV(1) for lung cancer among cigarette smokers independent of smoking history; results did not differ by during-trial quit status. FEV(1) may be a biological marker for smoking dose or it may be that genetic susceptibilities to both decreased FEV(1) and lung cancer are associated.


Int J Epidemiol. 2003 Aug;32(4):592-9.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

International journal of epidemiology

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