Jump to content

Genetic Links to Lung Cancer

Recommended Posts


According to an article recently published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, individuals with family members who have been diagnosed with lung cancer are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer themselves.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths, claiming more lives than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined. Once lung cancer has spread from its site of origin, it continues to remain virtually incurable with standard therapies. Therefore, effective screening for individuals who are at a high risk of developing the disease remains under evaluation, so the cancer may be detected and treated prior to spread.

Although there is a strong association between smoking and the development of lung cancer, it is becoming clear that there may be a genetic link to the disease as well, placing family members of an individual diagnosed with lung cancer at a higher risk of developing the disease than the general population – regardless of smoking status. Ultimately, these findings may allow for the placement of these high risk individuals into appropriate screening clinical trials and subsequent standard screening programs for lung cancer.

Researchers from Michigan recently conducted a study to further evaluate a possible genetic link to lung cancer. They reviewed literature from studies containing family history of individuals who had been diagnosed with lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), laryngeal and pharyngeal cancer.

• Nearly 14% of individuals in a study including over 26,000 lung cancer patients had at least one first-degree relative who had also been diagnosed with lung cancer.

• The mean age for an individual to develop lung cancer was 60 years in those with a family history of the disease, compared with 70 years in those who did not have a family history.

• Alterations on specific regions on chromosomes 6 and 12 were linked to an increased risk of lung cancer.

The researchers concluded that this study warrants further evaluation of a genetic link to lung cancer. They also stated that individuals with a strong family history who are smokers or current smokers should speak with their physician regarding referral into a screening program, or into a clinical trial that evaluates different screening methods to detect lung cancer early. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute (cancer.gov) and www.cancerconsultants.com.

Reference: Schwartz A, Ruckdeschel J. Familial Lung Cancer: Genetic Susceptibility and Relationship to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2006; 173: 16-22.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.