Tobias Welte, Editor in Chief
The GLOBOCAN project ( is a
comprehensive cancer surveillance database managed by the
International Association of Cancer Registries (IACR) and
supported by the World Health Organization (WHO). The
project aims to provide up-to-date estimates of the incidence,
mortality and prevalence of major cancer types, at a national
level, for 184 countries. GLOBOCAN estimate that ∼14.1 million
new cancer cases and 8.2 million deaths occurred in 2012
worldwide [1]. There were estimated to be 1.8 million new lung
cancer cases in 2012 (12.9% of the total), 57% (65% of cancer
deaths worldwide) of which occurred in the less developed
regions, making lung cancer the most common cancer in the
world. In both more and less developed countries, lung cancer is
the leading cause of cancer death among males, with the highest
estimated age-standardised incidence rates occurring in Central
and Eastern Europe (53.5 per 100 000) and Eastern Asia (50.4 per
100 000). In more developed countries, lung cancer has surpassed
breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer death among females.
The highest estimated rates in females are in northern America
(33.8) and northern Europe (23.7), with a relatively high rate in
Eastern Asia (19.2) and the lowest rates in Western and Middle
Africa (1.1 and 0.8 per 100 000, respectively) [1].
Lung cancer is the most common cause of death from cancer
worldwide; it is estimated that it causes nearly one in five deaths
(1.59 million deaths, 19.4% of the total). Its high fatality (it has
an overall the overall mortality to incidence ratio of 0.87) and the
relative lack of variability in survival in different regions of the
world, mean that the geographical patterns of mortality closely
follow those of incidence. Even so, most lung cancer patients are
diagnosed late, with the majority of them at an advanced disease
stage. There are currently no curative therapy options available
and long-term survival amongst lung cancer patients is still low.
Nevertheless, enormous progress has been made during the last
decade. Multimodal therapies have improved the prognosis as has
the development of new surgical techniques, the optimisation of
Copyright ©ERS 2015. Print ISBN: 978-1-84984-061-3. Online ISBN: 978-1-84984-062-0. Print ISSN: 2312-508X. Online ISSN: 2312-5098.
ERS Monogr 2015; 68: vii–viii DOI: 10.1183/2312508X.10003915 vii
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