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Interesting article


Eileen

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22:39 2005-03-02

A U.S. study has found lung cancer patients who never smoked are more likely than smokers to harbor one of two genetic mutations linked with the disease.

"This study describes the first known mutation to occur in lung cancer patients who have never smoked," said senior author Dr. Adi Gazdar of the Nancy B. and Jake L. Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

It appears two distinct molecular pathways are involved in formation of lung cancer, according to Gazdar. The pathway in smokers involves KRAS gene mutations, while the pathway in people who never smoked involves EGFR gene mutations, reports the Washington Times.

According to Xinhuanet, in this latest study of lung cancer patients from the United States, Japan, Taiwan and Australia, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that mutations in a specific domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene were more common in people who'd never smoked (51 percent) than in smokers (10 percent).

These mutations were also more common in cases of adenocarcinomas (40 percent) than in other forms of lung cancer (3 percent), in people of East Asian ancestry (30 percent) than in other ethnic groups (8 percent), and in females (42 percent) than in males (14 percent), they report.

A second gene mutation called KRAS, predisposing individuals only in the absence of the EGFR mutation, occurred in 8 percent of lung cancers, but the variant was not found in any lung cancers that already had an EGFR mutation.

The findings back the hypothesis that at least two distinct molecular pathways determine the development of either the EGFR-type cancer, or the KRAS malignancy, the study authors wrote.

NR

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