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Non-Smokers are Likely to Respond Differently to Lung Cancer Treatment


The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) reports that lung cancer in non-smokers and smokers varies, and it responds differently to various forms of treatment.

The research conducted in Taiwan shows that tumors among non-smokers had genetic changes that varied depending on the patient’s age or sex.

Many lung cancer patients (non-smokers) had signs of DNA damage due to environmental carcinogens. The patients included young women who had specific genetic changes that cause cancer to evolve rapidly.

The Most Comprehensive Research Ever in East Asia-conducted in London

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) conducted the study alongside the one in Taiwan. The prestigious journal – Cell – published the research as the most comprehensive biological study of lung cancer in non-smokers.

Why the Research is the Most Inclusive

  • The institute scientists and their colleagues at Academia Sinica and National Taiwan University conducted the study.
  • 103 lung cancer patients were analyzed
  • The number of lung cancer cases of non-smokers is higher in East Asia, so a detailed analysis was conducted on gene activation, genetic changes, protein activity, and cellular ‘switches.’

The Research Findings

  • Some tumors at their early stages in non-smokers are similar to more advanced disease in smokers.
  • Tumors in women had faults in the EGFR gene. In men, the tumors were in KRAS and APC genes.
  • Selecting people that exhibit ‘late-like’ early stage of tumors could help make the right decisions regarding treatment.
  • Three-quarters of tumors in females under 60 years showed a genetic pattern in the APOBEC gene family. All women who didn’t have faults in the EGFR gene exhibited the same pattern too.
  • Patients with no EGFR tend to do better on immunotherapy.
  • Sixty-five overactive proteins were identified in lung tumors that matched the existing drugs.
  • If a protein falls off MMP11 tissue, then it signaled poor survival.
  • Some early-stage patients had features similar to a later-stage, which could help to diagnose and determine treatment.

The study provides new insights into studying lung cancer in non-smokers. It also helps researchers to find the right treatment for non-smokers with lung cancer.

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