, Volume 196, Issue 2, pp 179–184 | Cite as

Use of Inhaled Corticosteroids and the Risk of Lung Cancer, the HUNT Study

  • Kirsti Sørli
  • Stine Marie Thorvaldsen
  • Peter Hatlen



Inflammation plays a central role in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer carcinogenesis. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) reduce inflammation. This study has investigated whether ICS use is associated with a lower risk of lung cancer.

Materials and Methods

Data from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT2 Survey, 1995–1997) were merged with The Cancer Registry of Norway and Norwegian Cause of Death Registry. From a total of 65,215 participants, those with chronic airway inflammation, defined by FEV1% < 70 and/or chronic cough and expectorate phlegm, were included (N = 4136). Of these, 3041 individuals reported regarding ICS use and were observed for a period of 12 years. Cox regression models were used to calculate the risk of lung cancer with a 95% confidence interval (CI) with sex, age, smoking pack years and FEV1% < 70 as known confounders.


Among ICS users (N = 1095). we found a higher, but not significant, incidence of lung cancer N = 39 (3.6%), compared to non-users (N = 1946) with N = 65 (3.3%) cases. Age and smoking were associated with a higher risk, while sex and lung function were not. After adjusting for confounders, ICS use did not change the risk of lung cancer, hazard ratio (HR) 0.968, (95% CI, 0.608–1.540), and p value 0.890.


ICS use is not associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer in our study population.


COPD ICS Lung cancer 



We thank the staff at HUNT Research Center, Norwegian Cancer Registry and Statistics Norway for cooperation and help in data management, and, last but not least, all the participants in the HUNT Study.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesNTNUTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of PulmonologySt. Olavs Hospital HFTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging (ISB), Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesNTNUTrondheimNorway

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