Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Smokers with gene defect have 1 in 4 chance of developing lung cancer


Around a quarter of smokers who carry a defect in the BRCA2 gene will develop lung cancer at some point in their lifetime, a large-scale, international study reveals.

Scientists announce a previously unknown link between lung cancer and a particular BRCA2 defect, occurring in around 2 per cent of the population, in research published in Nature Genetics today (Sunday).

The defect in BRCA2 - best known for its role in breast cancer - increases the risk of developing lung cancer by about 1.8 times.

Smokers as a group have a high lifetime risk of around 13 per cent (16 per cent in men and 9.5 per cent in women). The new study therefore suggests around one in four smokers with the BRCA2 defect will develop lung cancer. Around 10 million adults in Great Britain smoke, which means that up to around 200,000 adult smokers could have the specific BRCA2 defect, known as BRCA2 c.9976T.

... more about:
»BRCA »BRCA2 »Cancer »DNA »Genetics »Smokers »breast »defect »drugs »findings »lung »mutations »ovarian

The researchers, led by a team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, compared the DNA of 11,348 Europeans with lung cancer and 15,861 without the disease, looking for differences at specific points in their DNA. The team was mainly funded by the US National Institute of Health, with additional support from Cancer Research UK.

The link between lung cancer and defective BRCA2 – known to increase the risk of breast, ovarian and other cancers – was particularly strong in patients with the most common lung cancer sub-type, called squamous cell lung cancer. The researchers also found an association between squamous cell lung cancer and a defect in a second gene, CHEK2, which normally prevents cells from dividing when they have suffered damage to their DNA.

The results suggest that in the future, patients with squamous cell lung cancer could benefit from drugs specifically designed to be effective in cancers with BRCA mutations. A family of drugs called PARP inhibitors have shown success in clinical trials in breast and ovarian cancer patients with BRCA mutations, although it is not known whether they could be effective in lung cancer.

Study leader Professor Richard Houlston, Professor of Molecular and Population Genetics at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), said: "Our study showed that mutations to two genes, BRCA2 and CHEK2, have a very large effect on lung cancer risk in the context of smoking. Mutated BRCA2 in particular seems to increase risk by around 1.8 times.

"Smokers in general have nearly a 15 per cent chance of developing lung cancer, far higher than in non-smokers. Our results show that some smokers with BRCA2 mutations are at an enormous risk of lung cancer – somewhere in the region of 25 per cent over their lifetime.

"Lung cancer claims more than a million lives a year worldwide and is by far the biggest cancer killer in the UK. We know that the single biggest thing we can do to reduce death rates is to persuade people not to smoke, and our new findings make plain that this is even more critical in people with an underlying genetic risk."

Professor Paul Workman, Deputy Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, said:

"These findings indicate that around a quarter of smokers with a specific defect in their BRCA2 gene will develop lung cancer – a disease which is almost invariably fatal. All smokers are taking a considerable risk with their health, regardless of their genetic profile, but the odds are stacked even more heavily against those with this genetic defect who smoke."

Henry French | Eurek Alert!
Further information:

Further reports about: BRCA BRCA2 Cancer DNA Genetics Smokers breast defect drugs findings lung mutations ovarian

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>