Respiration; international review of thoracic diseases

Opium could be considered an independent risk factor for lung cancer: a case-control study.

PMID 22759984


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, and half of all incident lung cancers are believed to occur in the developing countries, including Iran. We investigated the association of opium with the risk of lung cancer in a case-control study. We enrolled 242 cases and 484 matched controls in this study. A questionnaire was developed, containing questions on basic demographic characteristics, as well as lifelong history of smoking cigarettes, exposure to passive smoking, opium use and alcohol consumption. For smoking cigarettes and opium and also oral opium intake frequency, duration and cumulative use were categorized into three groups: no use, low use and high use. Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Multivariate analysis in men showed that after adjusting for the effect of ethnicity, education and pack years of smoking cigarettes, smoking opium remained as a significant independent risk factor with an OR of 3.1 (95% CI 1.2-8.1). In addition, concomitant heavy smoking of cigarettes and opium dramatically increased the risk of lung cancer to an OR of 35.0 (95% CI 11.4-107.9). This study demonstrated that smoking opium is associated with a high risk of lung cancer as an independent risk factor.