Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 121–131 | Cite as

Occupational risks and lung cancer burden for Chinese men: a population-based case–referent study

  • Lap Ah Tse
  • Ignatius Tak-sun Yu
  • Hong Qiu
  • Joseph Siu Kai Au
  • Xiao-rong Wang
Original paper



We aimed to fill in the gap of knowledge on the lung cancer burden resulting from occupational exposures among Chinese men through a population-based case–referent study.


Detailed information on lifestyle and full occupational histories of 1,208 male lung cancer incident cases and 1,069 age-matched male community referents were obtained through interviews during 2004–2006. The associations between lung cancer risk and exposures to specific or group of agents that were confirmed or suspected occupational carcinogens were analyzed.


After adjustment of smoking and other potential confounding factors, significant odds ratio of lung cancer was observed for workers employed in major industrial divisions of “construction” (1.37, 95% CI: 1.00–1.89) and “financing, insurance, real estate, and business services” (0.48, 95% CI: 0.23–0.97), as well as in the occupational groups of “bricklayers, carpenters, and other construction workers” (1.49, 95% CI: 1.07–2.06). Significantly elevated odds ratios were found for occupational exposures to silica dust (1.75, 95% CI: 1.16–2.62), welding fumes (1.74, 95% CI: 1.13–2.68), diesel exhaust (2.18, 95% CI: 1.23–3.84), and man-made mineral fibers (7.45, 95% CI: 1.63–34.00), while a significantly reduced risk (OR = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.47–0.95) was linked to cotton dust. The population attributable fraction of lung cancer was 3.2% (95% CI: 0.1–7.3%) for construction workers and 9.5% (95% CI: 4.8–15.1%) for the four significant specific exposures.


Our study indicates that previous exposure to occupational carcinogens remains an important determinant of lung cancer burden for Hong Kong Chinese men. However, results obtained from this study should be confirmed by future analyses based on job exposure matrix.


Lung carcinoma Occupation Industry Carcinogen 



Environmental tobacco smoke


International Standard Classification of Occupations


International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities


Man-made mineral fibers


Odds ratio

95% CI

95% Confidence interval


Population attributable fraction


International Agency for Research on Cancer


Standardized mortality ratio



The work described in this paper was substantially supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China; Project No. CUHK4460/03M. The funding source had no role in the study design, data collection, data analysis, or interpretation of the findings.

Conflict of interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

10552_2011_9861_MOESM1_ESM.doc (30 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 30 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lap Ah Tse
    • 1
  • Ignatius Tak-sun Yu
    • 1
  • Hong Qiu
    • 1
  • Joseph Siu Kai Au
    • 2
  • Xiao-rong Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public Health and Primary CareThe Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales HospitalHong KongChina
  2. 2.Department of Clinical OncologyQueen Elizabeth HospitalKowloonChina

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