Genes May Predict Lung Cancer Risk

New research from the Boston University Medical Center concluded that lung-cell genes may be used to determine whether a smoker will develop lung cancer or other chronic airway diseases, Health Day News reported June 22.

Researchers examined the gene-expression profiles of bronchial cells from 93 smokers and nonsmokers. They found that smokers had more genes that were altered by mutation, and thus may contribute to tumor development. In addition, smokers showed decreased expression of various tumor-suppressing genes and genes that regulate airway inflammation.

Some of the genes returned to normal levels after a smoker quit for two years. However, several genes never rebounded.

The researchers concluded that bronchial gene expression may be effective as a biomarker for lung cancer in smokers.

The study is published in the June 21-25 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.