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Nonsmokers And Lung Cancer

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Nonsmokers And Lung Cancer

WHAT IS IT? Each year thousands of patients who have never smoked or been exposed to secondhand smoke or other risk factors are diagnosed with lung cancer. The patients share more than a puzzling situation; they may share a distinct type of lung cancer. Research is now revealing never-smoking patients with lung cancer may have a disease with a unique molecular biology.

COMPARISON STUDY: Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center conducted a study to compare the survival differences in never-smokers and current smokers in patients with adenocarcinoma of the lung -- the most common type of lung cancer. Researchers reviewed data on 132 never-smokers and 522 current smokers with lung cancer. They found never-smokers were predominantly female, older, and had an improved survival when compared to smokers with lung cancer. Specifically, chances for a five-year survival was 16 percent for smokers and 23 percent for never-smokers. Dr. George Simon said he believes never-smokers have a disease with a different molecular biology that responds to treatments differently. For example, a large study examining the drug Iressa for lung cancer showed there was no difference in survival rates for patients with lung cancer. However, when researchers analyzed subgroups, they found a survival benefit for patients of Asian origin and in patients who had never smoked.

UNDERSTANDING WHY? Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas recently released study results that could explain the difference in never-smokers with lung cancer. Their research further defines the genetic pathways that may explain why never-smoking patients respond to targeted therapies such as Iressa and Tarceva. They also describe the first known mutation to occur in lung cancer patients who have never smoked. Researchers report mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene are present mainly in adenocarcinomas found in smokers and non-smokers. They found these mutations were more common in people with lung cancer who never smoked compared to smokers. Scientists say these findings could help explain why certain lung cancer patients, such as never-smokers, respond to treatments that other patients do not.

DATABASE: It's estimated never-smokers with lung cancer make up about 5 percent of all lung cancer patients. In order to help facilitate the research on never-smokers with lung cancer, a group of patients and Simon have teamed up to create an online database of patients. The site is found at http://www.neversmokers.com. Simon said this database will help researchers facilitate studies quicker and finish them faster. It's also become a support group site of sorts for never-smoking lung cancer patients.

For More Information, Contact:

Jean Johnson

Moffitt Cancer Center

12902 Magnolia Dr.

Tampa, FL 33612


For other medical research, visit Ivanhoe Broadcast News on the Internet: http://www.ivanhoe.com

Copyright 2005 by Ivanhoe Broadcast News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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