Two common inherited genetic variations are associated with increased risk of lung cancer for smokers and former smokers, a research team led by scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center reports in the online edition of Nature Genetics.
“This is the first study to identify a common genetic variant that influences the risk for developing lung cancer,” said lead author Chris Amos, PhD, professor in M. D. Anderson’s Department of Epidemiology. The variants are present in about half of the Caucasian population studied.
The paper is one of three published by Nature from three unique teams that have identified the same genetic locus as associated with increased lung cancer risk. The findings are a major step forward in identifying those at high risk for non-small cell lung cancer and for understanding how smoking and genetic factors interact to cause the disease.
The research team, comprising scientists from M. D. Anderson, Johns Hopkins University, and the Institute for Cancer Research and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, pinpointed two spots of genetic variation on chromosome 15.
The two variants are single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, pronounced “snips”), places in the human genome that vary by a single DNA chemical building block or nucleotide. Individuals who have ever smoked and who have one or two copies of either of these SNPs have increased risks ranging from 28 percent to 81 percent of developing lung cancer, the researchers found.
Release date: April 2, 2008
Source: The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center