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Does hypertension increase mortality risk from lung cancer? A prospective cohort study on smoking, hypertension and lung cancer risk among Korean men

Lee, Soon Younga; Kim, Miyong T.b; Jee, Sun Hac; Im, Jeong Sood

Original papers: Epidemiology

Objective  To examine the effects of hypertension on lung cancer prospectively and to determine the interactive effect of hypertension and smoking on lung cancer risk.

Design  A prospective cohort study.

Participants  The cohort comprised 452 645 Korean men, aged 35–64 years, who received health insurance from the Korea Medical Insurance Corporation and who had biennial medical evaluations in 1992 and 1994.

Methods  Multivariate Cox proportional hazard models were tested, controlling for age, smoking status, exercise, body mass index, alcohol use, diabetes and serum cholesterol concentration.

Main outcome measure  Deaths from lung cancer.

Results  At baseline, 261 080 persons (58.3%) were identified as current cigarette smokers. Between 1995 and 1999, 883 deaths from lung cancer (44.8/100 000 person-years) occurred. An initial finding indicated that hypertension increased the mortality risk of lung cancer [risk ratio (RR) 1.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1–1.5]. However, after stratification for smoking status, the risk ratio was increased only for current smokers (RR 1.4, 95% CI 1.2–1.6). When the interaction term was included in the multivariate model, there was a significant interactive effect of hypertension with current smoking (RR 1.8, 95% CI 1.0–3.1) on the risk of death from lung cancer, whereas the effect of hypertension itself did not attain significance.

Conclusion  Hypertension was not an independent risk factor in lung cancer-related deaths, but it increased the modest risk of lung cancer death among current smokers.

aDepartment of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, The Ajou University, Suwon, Korea, bSchool of Nursing, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA, cDepartment of Epidemiology and Disease Control, Graduate School of Health Science and Management, The Yonsei University, Seoul, dNational Health Insurance Corporation, Seoul, Korea.

Correspondence and requests for reprints to Sun Ha Jee PhD, MHS, Department of Epidemiology and Disease Control, Graduate School of Health Science and Management, The Yonsei University, PO Box 8044, Seoul 120-749, Korea. Tel: +82 2 361 5095; fax: +82 2 365 5118; e-mail:

Received 17 April 2001

Revised 13 August 2001

Accepted 8 November 2001

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.