Gene Studies Pinpoint Lung Cancer Mutation, Addiction Risk
For decades scientists have been pondering as why some people who are heavy smokers end up getting lung cancers, while others do not. Also, why people, who have never touched a cigarette in their lives, end up getting lung cancer.
The answer may lie in our genes. According to two studies, gene number 15 is the culprit. This gene is associated with getting addicted to smoking and also an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
The scientists used a method called genome wide association where more than 30,000 gene markers were checked for various combinations and permutations. They found that permutations of several different markers were responsible for making a person predisposed to a particular disease.
A study conducted by the International Agency for Cancer Research found that gene number 15 is associated with addiction to smoking, and since smoking is can lead to lung cancer, it is also this gene that can cause lung cancer. However, this was the initial belief. Then scientists realized that being addicted to smoking and having an increased risk of lung cancer are two different phenomena altogether. It was then they realized they had actually stumbled on two findings.
The scientists found out that gene number 15 could make one person addicted to smoking while it could cause increased risk of lung cancer in another person even if he or she did not smoke.
However, the scientists point out that people should not think that just because they do not have the required gene mutation, they cannot develop lung cancer if they smoke. Smoking is still the main cause of developing lung cancer whether the gene is expressed or not. Nonetheless, they pointed out that smokers in general had a 14 percent chance of getting lung cancer, while smokers with the gene number 15 mutation had a 23 percent chance of getting lung cancer.