Special form of lung cancer in smokers

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Special form of lung cancer in smokers: smokers and non-smokers suffer from different types of lung cancer.

The form of lung cancer caused by smoking differs from the rarer tumor variant that also occurs in non-smokers. An international team of researchers from the British Columbia Cancer Research Center in Vancouver found this out and is fueling hopes for new approaches in diagnosis and treatment.

Lung cancer different for smokers and non-smokers It has long been clear that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer considerably. There is also the note on cigarette boxes: smoking causes cancer. So far, however, that the form of lung cancer differs between non-smokers and smokers was only a hypothesis. For example, researchers had found evidence in various studies that lung tumors in non-smokers have special genetic characteristics, but have so far not been able to provide clear scientific evidence of the difference. However, the scientists at the British Columbia Cancer Research Center have now succeeded in proving that there are significant differences in the types of cancer in non-smokers and smokers.

Altered DNA sections can trigger lung cancer As part of his study, the international research team examined 83 people suffering from lung cancer, 39 of whom were current smokers, 14 former smokers and 30 lifelong non-smokers. The scientists were particularly interested in the test persons' genetic information, which may be related to tumor formation. The researchers compared the DNA from the cancer cells of the patient groups with one another and with the genetic information of the participants' healthy cells. They found that the tumor cells of non-smokers showed significantly more altered DNA sections than those of smokers.

Consider lung cancer in non-smokers separately According to the researchers at the British Columbia Cancer Research Center's conclusion that the cause of lung cancer in non-smokers is the sum of many different DNA changes. Tumor formation in smokers, on the other hand, is triggered by contact with cancer-causing substances in tobacco smoke, with the smoke causing few but drastic changes that lead directly to cancer. Therefore, "lung cancer in non-smokers (...) should be considered as a separate group," said Kelsie Thu when presenting the study results at the annual conference of the American Society for Cancer Research in Philadelphia.

46,000 new cases every year in Germany The main cause of the approximately 46,000 new cases every year in Germany is still inhaled tobacco smoking. However, the study of bronchial carcinoma in non-smokers has shown that genetic factors and not tobacco consumption are decisive for certain forms of lung cancer. The scientists want to use this knowledge to be able to detect lung cancer in non-smokers earlier. The researchers also aim to develop special treatment methods for this type of bronchial carcinoma. "A close examination of the differences between the two types of lung cancer could lead to finding molecular starting points for early diagnosis and successful treatment," emphasized Kelsie Thu. Because

Bronchial carcinoma one of the most common cancers With 25 percent of all malignant tumors (malignancies), bronchial carcinoma is one of the most common cancers worldwide (the most common in men). In Germany around 46,000 people fall ill each year and around 40,000 die from the consequences of the disease. The ratio of sick men to women is around 3 to 1, with bronchial carcinomas according to the Robert Koch Institute 60 percent in women, 90 percent in men due to active cigarette smoking and genetically caused tumor formation a correspondingly low proportion make up among the cancers. The average 5-year survival rate (i.e. how many sufferers are still alive after five years) is only five percent. Only if lung cancer is discovered early can the American Cancer Society result in a significantly higher survival rate, which is around 47 percent. (fp, 09.11.2010)

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Photo credit: Thorsten Freyer / pixelio.de

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