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PLOS ONE  2009 

Is Genetic Background Important in Lung Cancer Survival?

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005588

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Background In lung cancer, a patient's survival is poor with a wide variation in survival within the stage of disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the familial concordance in lung cancer survival by means of analyses of pairs with different degrees of familial relationships. Methods Our population-based Swedish family database included three million families and over 58 100 lung cancer patients. We modelled the proband (parent, sibling, spouse) survival utilizing a multivariate proportional hazard (Cox) model adjusting for possible confounders of survival. Subsequently, the survival in proband's relative (child, sibling, spouse) was analysed with a Cox model. Findings By use of Cox modelling with 5 years follow-up, we noted a decreased hazard ratio for death in children with good parental survival (Hazard Ratio [HR] = 0.71, 95% CI = 0.51 to 0.99), compared to those with poor parental survival. Also for siblings, a very strong protective effect was seen (HR = 0.14, 95% CI = 0.030 to 0.65). Finally, in spouses no correlation in survival was found. Interpretation Our findings suggest that genetic factors are important in lung cancer survival. In a clinical setting, information on prognosis in a relative may be vital in foreseeing the survival in an individual newly diagnosed with lung cancer. Future molecular studies enhancing the understanding of the underlying mechanisms and pathways are needed.


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