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Epidemiology Lung Cancer in Asia

Budi D Machsoos, Shinta O Wardhani, , Djoko H Hermanto


Hematology-Medical Oncology Division, Department of Internal Medicine
Faculty of Medicine, Brawijaya University - Dr. Saiful Anwar General Hospital
Malang

ABSTRACT

Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of
cancer death worldwide. Lung cancer accounted for 13% (1,6 million) of the total
cancer cases and 18% (1,4 million) of the cancer deaths in 2008.1 There is a large
variation of the incidence and mortality rate of lung cancer in the word especially in
Asia. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, and other risk factors such as
indoor coal burning, cooking fumes, and infections may play important roles in the
development of lung cancer among Asian never smoking women. The median age of
diagnosis in Asian patients with lung cancer is generally younger than Caucasian
patients, particularly among never smokers.1

Incidence and mortality attributed to lung cancer has risen steadily since
the 1930s. Efforts to improve outcomes have not only led to a greater
understanding of the etiology of lung cancer, but also the histologic and
molecular characteristics of individual lung tumors. This article describes this
evolution by discussing the extent of the current lung cancer epidemic
including contemporary incidence and mortality trends, the risk factors for
development of lung cancer, and details of promising molecular targets for
treatment.5

Recent epidemiologic studies and clinical trials have shown consistently that
Asian ethnicity is a favorable prognostic factor for overall survival in non-small cell
lung cancer (NSCLC), independent of smoking status. Compared with Caucasian
patients with NSCLC, East Asian patients have a much higher prevalence of
epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation (approximately 30% vs. 7%,
predominantly among patients with adenocarcinoma and neversmokers), a lower
prevalence of K Ras mutation (less than 10% vs. 18%, predominantly among
patients with adenocarcinoma and smokers), and higher proportion of patients who
are responsive to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors . The ethnic differences in
epidemiology and clinical behaviors should be taken into account when conducting
global clinical trials that include different ethnic populations .2,3

The awareness of early signs and symptom of lung cancer in order to get them
diagnosed and treated at early stage and diagnosis of lung cancer is a key to detect it
early. As symptoms of early lung cancer are easily confused with many diseases,
which is also an important factor resulting in patients delay of treatment. Chest X-
ray: this is commonly first lung cancer imaging test CT scanning: a CT scan of the
chest may be ordered when X-rays do not show an abnormality or do not yield
sufficient information about the extent or location of a tumor. MRI performed if we
need better show the extent of tumors and involvement of blood vessels. However,
CT scanning is highly recommended for pulmonary solid lesions.PET scans:
differentiated from traditional imaging techniques, PET scans measure metabolic
activity and the function of tissues. It can determine whether a tumor tissue is actively
growing and can aid in determining the type of cells within a particular
tumor.Pathology examination: diagnosis of lung cancer mainly depends on the
examinations of tissue, cytology, and clinically many auxiliary examinations are used
for collecting specimens of lung cancer. Cytological specimens mainly come from
sputum, serous cavity effusion, brush biopsy by fiberoptic bronchoscopy and various
regions of specimens by fine needle aspiration.

Keynote : Epidemiology, Diagnosis, Lung Cancer, Asia


Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of
cancer death worldwide. Lung cancer accounted for 13% (1,6 million) of the total
cancer cases and 18%(1,4 million) of the cancer deaths in 2008.1 There is a large
variation of the incidence and mortality rate of lung cancer in the word especially in
Asia. In males, the highest lung cancer incidence rates are different between Europe
(Age-standardized rate,ASR of 57 and 49 per 100.000 respectively), North America
(ASR of 48,5 per 100.000) and Eastern Asia(ASR of 45 per 100.000).1 In females, the
highest lung cancer incidence found in North America (ASR of 35,8 per 100.000)
Northern Europe (ASR of 21,8 per 100.000) and Eastern Asia (ASR of 19,9 per
100.000). The different incidence between male and female explains that in the US
approximately 45% of patients with NSCLC are women, however in Eastern Asia,
only 25% to 30% of patients with lung cancer are women.1
There are other differences in characteristics of lung cancer patients between
Asia and the US. Asian patients have generally a younger age of onset. In addition,
the median age of Asia never-smoker patients (defined as never smoked or smoked
less than 100 cigarettes in the lifetime) is significantly younger than ever-smoker
patients.1 In Asia, more than 30%of patients with lung cancer are never-smokers and
half or more lung cancer in women occur in never-smokers. In China the mortality of
lung cancer has doubled between the 1970s and 1990s. Despite the lower prevalence
of smoking, Chinese females have a higher prevalence of lung cancer (21,3 cases per
100.000 females) than do females in certain European countries.1
Other known risk factors for lung cancer include second hand smoking, diet
and food supplements, Alcohol drinking, exercise and physical activity, air pollution
(indoor air pollution mainly due to coal burning, account for 13% of lung cancer in
male and 17% of lung cancer in female in China) and occupational/environmental
exposure.
Infections such as tuberculosis and human papillomavirus may contribute to
the development of lung cancer among Asia women.1
Family history and genetic susceptibility play important roles in the
development of lung cancer.