TitlePre-Diagnosis Leisure-Time Physical Activity and Lung Cancer Survival: A Pooled Analysis of 11 Cohorts
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsYang, JJeong, Yu, D, White, E, Lee, DHoon, Blot, W, Robien, K, Sinha, R, Park, Y, Takata, Y, Gao, Y-T, Smith-Byrne, K, Monninkhof, EM, Kaaks, R, Langhammer, A, Borch, KBenjaminse, Al-Shaar, L, Lan, Q, Sørgjerd, EPettersen, Zhang, X, Zhu, C, Chirlaque, MDolores, Severi, G, Overvad, K, Sacerdote, C, Aune, D, Johansson, M, Smith-Warner, SA, Zheng, W, Shu, X-O
JournalJNCI Cancer Spectrum
Date Published02/2022


Little is known about the association between physical activity before cancer diagnosis and survival among lung cancer patients. In this pooled analysis of 11 prospective cohorts, we investigated associations of pre-diagnosis leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) with all-cause and lung cancer-specific mortality among incident lung cancer patients.


Using self-reported data on regular engagement in exercise/sports activities collected at study enrollment, we assessed metabolic equivalent hours (MET-h) of pre-diagnosis LTPA per week. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, pre-diagnosis LTPA was classified into inactivity, <8.3, and ≥8.3 MET-h/week (the minimum recommended range). Cox regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence interval (CIs) for all-cause and lung cancer-specific mortality after adjustment for major prognostic factors and lifetime smoking history.


Of 20,494 incident lung cancer cases, 16,864 died, including 13,596 deaths from lung cancer (overall 5-year relative survival rate=20.9%, 95% CI = 20.3%-21.5%). Compared with inactivity, pre-diagnosis LTPA ≥8.3 MET-h/week was associated with a lower hazard of all-cause mortality (multivariable-adjusted HR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.88-0.99), but not with lung cancer-specific mortality (multivariable-adjusted HR = 0.99, 95% CI = 0.95-1.04), among the overall population. Additive interaction was found by tumor stage ( p-interaction=0.008 for all-cause mortality and 0.003 for lung cancer-specific mortality). When restricted to localized cancer, pre-diagnosis LTPA ≥8.3 MET-h/week linked to 20% lower mortality: multivariable-adjusted HRs were 0.80 (95% CI = 0.67-0.97) for all-cause mortality and 0.80 (95% CI = 0.65-0.99) for lung cancer-specific mortality.


Regular participation in LTPA that met or exceeded the minimum Physical Activity Guidelines was associated with reduced hazards of mortality among lung cancer patients, especially those with early-stage cancer.