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BACKGROUND: Most lung cancer risk prediction models were developed in European and North-American cohorts of smokers aged ≥ 55 years, while less is known about risk profiles in Asia, especially for never smokers or individuals aged < 50 years. Hence, we aimed to develop and validate a lung cancer risk estimate tool for ever and never smokers across a wide age range. METHODS: Based on the China Kadoorie Biobank cohort, we first systematically selected the predictors and explored the nonlinear association of predictors with lung cancer risk using restricted cubic splines. Then, we separately developed risk prediction models to construct a lung cancer risk score (LCRS) in 159,715 ever smokers and 336,526 never smokers. The LCRS was further validated in an independent cohort over a median follow-up of 13.6 years, consisting of 14,153 never smokers and 5,890 ever smokers. RESULTS: A total of 13 and 9 routinely available predictors were identified for ever and never smokers, respectively. Of these predictors, cigarettes per day and quit years showed nonlinear associations with lung cancer risk (Pnon-linear < 0.001). The curve of lung cancer incidence increased rapidly above 20 cigarettes per day and then was relatively flat until approximately 30 cigarettes per day. We also observed that lung cancer risk declined sharply within the first 5 years of quitting, and then continued to decrease but at a slower rate in the subsequent years. The 6-year area under the receiver operating curve for the ever and never smokers' models were respectively 0.778 and 0.733 in the derivation cohort, and 0.774 and 0.759 in the validation cohort. In the validation cohort, the 10-year cumulative incidence of lung cancer was 0.39% and 2.57% for ever smokers with low (< 166.2) and intermediate-high LCRS (≥ 166.2), respectively. Never smokers with a high LCRS (≥ 21.2) had a higher 10-year cumulative incidence rate than those with a low LCRS (< 21.2; 1.05% vs. 0.22%). An online risk evaluation tool (LCKEY; was developed to facilitate the use of LCRS. CONCLUSIONS: The LCRS can be an effective risk assessment tool designed for ever and never smokers aged 30 to 80 years.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer Commun (Lond)

Publication Date



early-onset cancer, lung cancer, lung cancer screening, never smokers, prediction model