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BACKGROUND: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality among Chinese females despite the low smoking prevalence among this population. This study assessed the roles of reproductive factors in lung cancer development among Chinese female never-smokers. METHODS: The prospective China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) recruited over 0.5 million Chinese adults (0.3 million females) from 10 geographical areas in China in 2004-2008 when information on socio-demographic/lifestyle/environmental factors, physical measurements, medical history, and reproductive history collected through interviewer-administered questionnaires. Cox proportional hazard regression was used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) of lung cancer by reproductive factors. Subgroup analyses by menopausal status, birth year, and geographical region were performed. RESULTS: During a median follow-up of 11 years, 2,284 incident lung cancers occurred among 282,558 female never-smokers. Ever oral contraceptive use was associated with a higher risk of lung cancer (HR = 1.16, 95% CI: 1.02-1.33) with a significant increasing trend associated with longer duration of use (p-trend = 0.03). Longer average breastfeeding duration per child was associated with a decreased risk (0.86, 0.78-0.95) for > 12 months compared with those who breastfed for 7-12 months. No statistically significant association was detected between other reproductive factors and lung cancer risk. CONCLUSION: Oral contraceptive use was associated with an increased risk of lung cancer in Chinese female never-smokers. Further studies are needed to assess lung cancer risk related to different types of oral contraceptives in similar populations.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Cancer

Publication Date





Chinese females, Lung cancer, Never-smokers, Reproductive factors, Adult, Child, Humans, Female, Risk Factors, Lung Neoplasms, Prospective Studies, Reproductive History, Biological Specimen Banks, Smokers, Contraceptives, Oral, China