Mutation-limiting mechanisms save most smokers from lung cancer
Some smokers may have robust mechanisms that protect them from lung cancer by limiting mutations, observes the latest study led by scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and published in Nature Genetics. The study, which used SCDMA to compare the mutational landscape of normal lung epithelial cells from two types of people: 14 never-smokers, ages 11 to 86; and 19 smokers, ages 44 to 81, who had smoked a maximum of 116 pack years (a pack-year equals 1 pack a day per year). The findings are curious and important because cigarette smoking is overwhelmingly the main cause of lung cancer, yet only a minority of smokers develop the disease. The new revelation could help identify those smokers who face an increased risk for the disease and therefore warrant especially close monitoring.