Environmental Disease (2017-01-01)

A novel approach to analyzing lung cancer mortality disparities: Using the exposome and a graph-theoretical toolchain

  • Paul D Juarez,
  • Darryl B Hood,
  • Gary L Rogers,
  • Suzanne H Baktash,
  • Arnold M Saxton,
  • Patricia Matthews-Juarez,
  • Wansoo Im,
  • Myriam Patricia Cifuentes,
  • Charles A Phillips,
  • Maureen Y Lichtveld,
  • Michael A Langston

DOI
https://doi.org/10.4103/ed.ed_8_17
Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2, no. 2
pp. 33 – 44

Abstract

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Objectives: The aim is to identify exposures associated with lung cancer mortality and mortality disparities by race and gender using an exposome database coupled to a graph-theoretical toolchain. Methods: Graph-theoretical algorithms were employed to extract paracliques from correlation graphs using associations between 2162 environmental exposures and lung cancer mortality rates in 2067 counties, with clique-doubling applied to compute an absolute threshold of significance. Factor analysis and multiple linear regressions then were used to analyze differences in exposures associated with lung cancer mortality and mortality disparities by race and gender. Results: While cigarette consumption was highly correlated with rates of lung cancer mortality for both white men and women, previously unidentified novel exposures were more closely associated with lung cancer mortality and mortality disparities for blacks, particularly black women. Conclusions: Exposures beyond smoking moderate lung cancer mortality and mortality disparities by race and gender. Policy Implications: An exposome approach and database coupled with scalable combinatorial analytics provides a powerful new approach for analyzing relationships between multiple environmental exposures, pathways and health outcomes. An assessment of multiple exposures is needed to appropriately translate research findings into environmental public health practice and policy.

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