Objectives: Previous epidemiological studies had limited power to investigate the joint effects of individual environmental risk factors and familial susceptibility to lung cancer. This study aimed to address this shortcoming.
Methods: We recruited 345 never smoking lung cancer cases and 828 community referents. We developed a collective environmental exposure index by assigning a value of 1 to subjects at high risks regarding environmental risk factors and 0 otherwise, and then summed over using weights equivalent to the excess odds ratio. Potential additive and multiplicative interactions between environmental exposure index and family cancer history were examined.
Results: Compared with “low environmental exposure and without family cancer history”, the odds ratio was 6.80 (95% confidence interval = 3.31–13.98) for males who had high environmental exposures but without family cancer history, whereas it increased to 30.61 (95% confidence interval = 9.38–99.87) if they also had a positive family history. The corresponding associations became weaker in never smoking females. No multiplicative interaction was observed for both genders and an additive interaction was restricted among males.
Conclusions: This study developed a novel environmental exposure index that offers sufficient interest deserving further studies on the interactions between environmental exposures and familial susceptibility to lung cancer risk.