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Genetic variant greatly increases lung cancer risk for light smokers
Date:3/9/2010

CINCINNATIIndividuals with a certain type of genetic susceptibility to lung cancer face a greatly increased risk for the deadly disease with even a small exposure to cigarette smoke, a study team that includes researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC) has concluded.

For family members who carry this genetic variant, the risk of lung cancer is similar for both light and heavy smokers, the researchers say, adding that even non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke and have a family history of lung cancer should be monitored for early detection.

The study, conducted by the Genetic Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Consortium (GELCC), is being published online March 9, 2010, ahead of print by Cancer Research, a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research. Print date is March 15.

Marshall Anderson, PhD, a professor in UC's cancer and cell biology department, is principal investigator of the GELCC, whose UC portion is known as the Family Lung Cancer Study. Susan Pinney, PhD, an associate professor in the department of environmental health, is a co-investigator. The study's first author is Christopher Amos, PhD, a professor and epidemiologist at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

"The study shows a strong gene-environment interaction between a region of chromosome 6q and smoking," UC's Anderson says. "People with this susceptibility locus can develop lung cancer even with a very little bit of smoking."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 200,000 cases of lung cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available. More people die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer, the CDC says.

To study the chromosome region's effect on lung cancer risk, the researchers identified a haplotype (a portion of a chromosome containing genes that tend to be inherited together) that was as
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Contact: Keith Herrell
keith.herrell@uc.edu
513-558-4559
University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Source:Eurekalert

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