Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer mortality in male and female patients in the US. Although it is clear that tobacco smoking is a major cause of lung cancer, about half of all women with lung cancer worldwide are never-smokers. Despite a declining smoking population, the incidence of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the predominant form of lung cancer, has reached epidemic proportions particularly in women. Emerging data suggest that factors other than tobacco, namely endogenous and exogenous female sex hormones, have a role in stimulating NSCLC progression. Aromatase, a key enzyme for estrogen biosynthesis, is expressed in NSCLC. Clinical data show that women with high levels of tumor aromatase (and high intratumoral estrogen) have worse survival than those with low aromatase. The present and previous studies also reveal significant expression and activity of estrogen receptors (ERα, ERβ) in both extranuclear and nuclear sites in most NSCLC. We now report further on the expression of progesterone receptor (PR) transcripts and protein in NSCLC. PR transcripts were significantly lower in cancerous as compared to non-malignant tissue. Using immunohistochemistry, expression of PR was observed in the nucleus and/or extranuclear compartments in the majority of human tumor specimens examined. Combinations of estrogen and progestins administered in vitro cooperate in promoting tumor secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor and, consequently, support tumor-associated angiogenesis. Further, dual treatment with estradiol and progestin increased the numbers of putative tumor stem/progenitor cells. Thus, ER- and/or PR-targeted therapies may offer new approaches to manage NSCLC.
Progesterone; Estrogen; Steroid hormone receptor; Non-small cell lung cancer; VEGF; Progenitor cells; Cancer stem cells; Angiogenesis
The majority of lung cancers are caused by long term exposure to the several classes of carcinogens present in tobacco smoke. While a significant fraction of lung cancers in never smokers may also be attributable to tobacco, many such cancers arise in the absence of detectable tobacco exposure, and may follow a very different cellular and molecular pathway of malignant transformation. Recent studies summarized here suggest that lung cancers arising in never smokers have a distinct natural history, profile of oncogenic mutations, and response to targeted therapy. The majority of molecular analyses of lung cancer have focused on genetic profiling of pathways responsible for metabolism of primary tobacco carcinogens. Limited research has been conducted evaluating familial aggregation and genetic linkage of lung cancer, particularly among never smokers in whom such associations might be expected to be strongest. Data emerging over the past several years demonstrates that lung cancers in never smokers are much more likely to carry activating mutations of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR), a key oncogenic factor and direct therapeutic target of several newer anti-cancer drugs. EGFR mutant lung cancers may represent a distinct class of lung cancers, enriched in the never smoking population, and less clearly linked to direct tobacco carcinogenesis. These insights followed initial testing and demonstration of efficacy of EGFR-targeted drugs. Focused analysis of molecular carcinogenesis in lung cancers in never smokers is needed, and may provide additional biologic insight with therapeutic implications for lung cancers in both ever smokers and never smokers.
The objective of the current study was to estimate the risk of lung cancer attributable to occupational factors and not due to tobacco. At 24 hospitals in nine metropolitan areas in the United States, 1793 male lung cancer cases were matched for race, age, hospital, year of interview, and cigarette smoking (never smoker, ex-smoker, smoker (1-19 and > or = 20 cigarettes per day)) to two types of controls (cancer and non-cancer hospital patients). Information on usual occupation, exposure to specific potential carcinogens, and cigarette smoking was obtained by interview. Risk of lung cancer was increased significantly for electricians; sheetmetal workers and tinsmiths; bookbinders and related printing trade workers; cranemen, derrickmen, and hoistmen; moulders, heat treaters, annealers and other heated metal workers; and construction labourers. All of these occupations are potentially exposed to known carcinogens. Odds ratios (ORs) were increased for exposure to coal dust (adjusted OR = 1.5; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.1-2.1). After stratification, this association was statistically significant only after 10 or more years of exposure. Lung cancer was also related to exposure to asbestos (adjusted OR = 1.8; 95% CI 1.5-2.2). The ORs increased with increasing duration of exposure to asbestos for all smoking categories except for current smokers of 1-19 cigarettes per day. The statistical power to detect ORs among occupations that were previously reported to be at increased risk of lung cancer but that failed to show an OR of at least 1.5 in the current study was small. The cumulative population attributable risk (PAR) of lung cancer due to occupation was 9.2%. It is concluded that occupational factors play an important part in the development of lung cancer independently of cigarette smoking. Because occupations at high risk of lung cancer were under-represented, the cumulative PAR of the present study is likely to be an underestimate of the true contribution of occupation to risk of lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the worldwide leading cause of death from cancer. Tobacco usage is the major pathogenic factor, but all lung cancers are not attributable to smoking. Specifically, lung cancer in never-smokers has been suggested to represent a distinct disease entity compared to lung cancer arising in smokers due to differences in etiology, natural history and response to specific treatment regimes. However, the genetic aberrations that differ between smokers and never-smokers’ lung carcinomas remain to a large extent unclear.
Unsupervised gene expression analysis of 39 primary lung adenocarcinomas was performed using Illumina HT-12 microarrays. Results from unsupervised analysis were validated in six external adenocarcinoma data sets (n=687), and six data sets comprising normal airway epithelial or normal lung tissue specimens (n=467). Supervised gene expression analysis between smokers and never-smokers were performed in seven adenocarcinoma data sets, and results validated in the six normal data sets.
Initial unsupervised analysis of 39 adenocarcinomas identified two subgroups of which one harbored all never-smokers. A generated gene expression signature could subsequently identify never-smokers with 79-100% sensitivity in external adenocarcinoma data sets and with 76-88% sensitivity in the normal materials. A notable fraction of current/former smokers were grouped with never-smokers. Intriguingly, supervised analysis of never-smokers versus smokers in seven adenocarcinoma data sets generated similar results. Overlap in classification between the two approaches was high, indicating that both approaches identify a common set of samples from current/former smokers as potential never-smokers. The gene signature from unsupervised analysis included several genes implicated in lung tumorigenesis, immune-response associated pathways, genes previously associated with smoking, as well as marker genes for alveolar type II pneumocytes, while the best classifier from supervised analysis comprised genes strongly associated with proliferation, but also genes previously associated with smoking.
Based on gene expression profiling, we demonstrate that never-smokers can be identified with high sensitivity in both tumor material and normal airway epithelial specimens. Our results indicate that tumors arising in never-smokers, together with a subset of tumors from smokers, represent a distinct entity of lung adenocarcinomas. Taken together, these analyses provide further insight into the transcriptional patterns occurring in lung adenocarcinoma stratified by smoking history.
Lung cancer; Smoking; Gene expression analysis; Adenocarcinoma; EGFR; Never-smokers; Immune response
Epidemiological studies indicate that some characteristics of lung cancer among never-smokers significantly differ from those of smokers. Aberrant promoter methylation and mutations in some oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are frequent in lung tumors from smokers but rare in those from never-smokers. In this study, we analyzed promoter methylation in the ras-association domain isoform A (RASSF1A) and the death-associated protein kinase (DAPK) genes in lung tumors from patients with primarily non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) from the Western Pennsylvania region. We compare the results with the smoking status of the patients and the mutation status of the K-ras, p53, and EGFR genes determined previously on these same lung tumors.
Promoter methylation of the RASSF1A and DAPK genes was analyzed by using a modified two-stage methylation-specific PCR. Data on mutations of K-ras, p53, and EGFR were obtained from our previous studies.
The RASSF1A gene promoter methylation was found in tumors from 46.7% (57/122) of the patients and was not significantly different between smokers and never-smokers, but was associated significantly in multiple variable analysis with tumor histology (p = 0.031) and marginally with tumor stage (p = 0.063). The DAPK gene promoter methylation frequency in these tumors was 32.8% (40/122) and did not differ according to the patients' smoking status, tumor histology, or tumor stage. Multivariate analysis adjusted for age, gender, smoking status, tumor histology and stage showed that the frequency of promoter methylation of the RASSF1A or DAPK genes did not correlate with the frequency of mutations of the K-ras, p53, and EGFR gene.
Our results showed that RASSF1A and DAPK genes' promoter methylation occurred frequently in lung tumors, although the prevalence of this alteration in these genes was not associated with the smoking status of the patients or the occurrence of mutations in the K-ras, p53 and EGFR genes, suggesting each of these events may represent independent event in non-small lung tumorigenesis.
The cause of lung cancer is generally attributed to tobacco smoking. However lung cancer in never smokers accounts for 10 to 25% of all lung cancer cases. Arsenic, asbestos and radon are three prominent non-tobacco carcinogens strongly associated with lung cancer. Exposure to these agents can lead to genetic and epigenetic alterations in tumor genomes, impacting genes and pathways involved in lung cancer development. Moreover, these agents not only exhibit unique mechanisms in causing genomic alterations, but also exert deleterious effects through common mechanisms, such as oxidative stress, commonly associated with carcinogenesis. This article provides a comprehensive review of arsenic, asbestos, and radon induced molecular mechanisms responsible for the generation of genetic and epigenetic alterations in lung cancer. A better understanding of the mode of action of these carcinogens will facilitate the prevention and management of lung cancer related to such environmental hazards.
Background: Squamous cell carcinoma has a stronger association with tobacco smoking than other non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). A study was undertaken to determine whether chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a risk factor for the squamous cell carcinoma histological subtype in smokers with surgically resectable NSCLC.
Methods: Using a case-control design, subjects with a surgically confirmed diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma were enrolled from smokers undergoing lung resection for NSCLC in the District Hospital of Ferrara, Italy. Control subjects were smokers who underwent lung resection for NSCLC in the same hospital and had a surgically confirmed diagnosis of NSCLC of any histological type other than squamous cell.
Results: Eighty six cases and 54 controls (mainly adenocarcinoma, n = 50) were enrolled. The presence of COPD was found to increase the risk for the squamous cell histological subtype by more than four times. Conversely, the presence of chronic bronchitis was found to decrease the risk for this histological subtype by more than four times. Among patients with chronic bronchitis (n = 77), those with COPD had a 3.5 times higher risk of having the squamous cell histological subtype.
Conclusions: These data suggest that, among smokers with surgically resectable NSCLC, COPD is a risk factor for the squamous cell histological subtype and chronic bronchitis, particularly when not associated with COPD, is a risk factor for the adenocarcinoma histological subtype.
Although TP53 mutations have been widely studied in lung cancer, the majority of studies have focused on exons 5-8 of the gene. In addition, TP53 mutations in Korean patients with lung cancers have not been investigated. We searched for mutations in the entire coding exons, including splice sites of the gene, in Korean patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Mutations of the gene were determined by direct sequencing in 176 NSCLCs. Sixty-nine mutations (62 different mutations) were identified in 65 tumors. Of the 62 mutations, 12 were novel mutations. TP53 mutations were more frequent in males, ever-smokers and squamous cell carcinomas than in females, never-smokers and adenocarcinomas, respectively (all comparisons, P<0.001). Missense mutations were most common (52.2%), but frameshift, nonsense, and splice-site mutations were frequently observed at frequencies of 18.8%, 15.9% and 10.1%, respectively. Of the 69 mutations, 9 (13.0%) were found in the oligomerization domain. In addition, the proportion of mutations in the oligomerization domain was significantly higher in adenocarcinomas than in squamous cell carcinomas (23.5% vs. 2.9%, P=0.01). Our study provides clinical and molecular characteristics of TP53 mutations in Korean patients with NSCLCs.
Lung Neoplasms; Mutation; Genes, p53
The grim prognosis of lung cancer, that has an overall 10–15% survival at 5 years, remains in the US the leading cause of cancer mortality, providing a compelling rationale for studying the molecular basis of this malignancy. Surmising the common, general association with smoking, lung cancers differ at the microscopic, anatomical, epidemiological and clinical level and harbor complex genetic and epigenetic alterations. Currently, lung cancer is divided into small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and non small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) for the purpose of clinical management. NSCLC constitutes 80–85% of lung cancers and is further divided into histological subtypes such as adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma, etc.
The ultimate goal for lung cancer research is to develop a strategy to block the tumor progression and improve the prognosis of lung cancer. This goal can realistically be achieved only when the biological complexity of this disease is taken into account. To this end, identification and understanding of molecular markers that are mechanistically involved in tumor progression are needed. Our recent studies suggest histological subtype-dependent distinct correlations between the expression and/or subcellular localization of tumor suppressive maspin with the progression and prognosis of NSCLC. Maspin is an epithelial specific member of the serine protease inhibitor (serpin) superfamily but recently identified as an endogenous inhibitor of histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1). This novel biochemical activity coincides with a consensus emerged recently from the evidence that nuclear maspin confers better differentiated epithelial phenotypes, decreased tumor angiogenesis, increased tumor sensitivity to drug-induced apoptosis, and a more favorable prognosis. In the current review, we discuss the evidence that maspin may be a marker that stratifies the progression and prognosis of different subtypes of NSCLC.
lung cancer; molecular marker; prognosis; histological subtypes; histone deacetylase 1; natural HDAC inhibitor; subcellular localization; differential expression; drug discovery
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains a leading cause of death worldwide among patients diagnosed with malignancy. Despite new chemotherapy regimens and new cytotoxic combinations investigated in multiple clinical trials in recent years, no significant improvement in the prognosis of patients with lung cancer was achieved. The five-year survival rate for all patients diagnosed with NSCLC is about 15%, only 5% better than that of more than 40 years ago. New therapeutic approaches that target various different aspects of tumor progression and metastasis are of particular interest in to NSCLC patients. Drugs that block tumor vascularization (angiogenesis) or interfere with the activity of growth factor receptors and molecular pathways that are triggered by activation of these receptors are already used in clinical practice. In this review we will briefly discuss briefly the basic mechanisms of lung cancer angiogenesis, rationale for using drugs that block this process and present the most current recent data on their clinical efficacy.
lung cancer; VEGF; angiogenesis; antiangiogenesis
Cigarette smoking is the major cause for lung cancer but genetic factors also affect susceptibility. We studied families that included multiple relatives affected by lung cancer. Results from linkage analysis showed strong evidence that a region of chromosome 6q affects lung cancer risk. To characterize the effects that this region of chromosome 6q region has on lung cancer risk we identified a haplotype that segregated with lung cancer. We then performed Cox regression analysis to estimate the differential effects that smoking behaviors have upon lung cancer risk according to whether each individual carried a risk-associated haplotype or could not be classified and was assigned unknown haplotypic status. We divided smoking exposures into never smokers, light smokers (<20 pack years), moderate smokers (20-<40 pack years) and heavy smokers (40 or more pack years). Comparing results according to smoking behavior stratified by carrier status, compared to never smokers, there was weakly increasing risk for increasing smoking behaviors, with the hazards ratios being 3.44, 4.91, and 5.18 respectively for light, moderate or heavy smokers, while among the individuals from families without the risk haplotype, the risks associated with smoking increased strongly with exposure, the hazards ratios being respectively 4.25, 9.17 and 11.89 for light, moderate and heavy smokers. The never smoking carriers had a 4.71 fold higher risk than the never smoking individuals without known risk haplotypes. These results identify a region of chromosome 6q that increases risk for lung cancer and that confers particularly higher risks to never and light smokers.
Rationale: Tobacco smoking is responsible for 85% of all lung cancers. To further our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of lung cancer, we determined whether smoking history leads to the emergence of specific genomic alterations found in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Objectives: To identify gene copy number alterations in NSCLCs associated with smoking history or DNA repair capacity.
Methods: Seventy-five NSCLCs were selected for this study from patients with current, none, or past smoking history, including pack year information. Tissue sections were microdissected, and DNA was extracted, purified, and labeled by random priming before hybridization onto bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) arrays. Normalized ratios were correlated with smoking history and DNA repair capacity was measured by an in vitro lymphocyte assay in the same patients.
Measurements and Main Results: We identified smoking-related genomic signatures in NSCLCs that could be predicted with an overall 74% accuracy. Lung tumors arising from current-smokers had the greatest number of copy number alterations. The genomic regions most significantly associated with smoking were located within 60 regions and were functionally associated with genes controlling the M phase of the cell cycle, the segregation of chromosomes, and the methylation of DNA. Verification of the data is provided from data in the public domain and by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. The associations between genomic abnormalities and DNA repair capacity did not reach statistical significance.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that smoking history leaves a specific genomic signature in the DNA of lung tumors and suggest that these alterations may reflect new molecular pathways to cancer development.
array comparative genomic hybridization; tobacco; profile; microarray
OBJECTIVE: To estimate the extent to which cigarette smokers who switch to cigars or pipes alter their risk of dying of three-smoking related diseases-lung cancer, ischaemic heart disease, and chronic obstructive lung disease. DESIGN: A prospective study of 21520 men aged 35-64 years when recruited in 1975-82 with detailed history of smoking and measurement of carboxyhaemoglobin. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Notification of deaths (to 1993) classified by cause. RESULTS: Pipe and cigar smokers who had switched from cigarettes over 20 years before entry to the study smoked less tobacco than cigarette smokers (8.1 g/day v 20 g/day), but they had the same consumption as pipe and cigar smokers who had never smoked cigarettes (8.1 g) and had higher carboxyhaemoglobin saturations (1.2% v 1.0%, P < 0.001), indicating that they inhaled tobacco smoke to a greater extent. They had a 51% higher risk of dying of the three smoking related diseases than pipe or cigar smokers who had never smoked cigarettes (relative risk 1.51; 95% confidence interval 0.96 to 2.38), a 68% higher risk than lifelong non-smokers (1.68; 1.16 to 2.45), a 57% higher risk than former cigarette smokers who gave up smoking over 20 years before entry (1.57; 1.04 to 2.38), and a 46% lower risk than continuing cigarette smokers (0.54; 0.38 to 0.77). CONCLUSION: Cigarette smokers who have difficulty in giving up smoking altogether are better off changing to cigars or pipes than continuing to smoke cigarettes. Much of the effect is due to the reduction in the quantity of tobacco smoked, and some is due to inhaling less. Men who switch do not, however, achieve the lower risk of pipe and cigar smokers who have never smoked cigarettes. All pipe and cigar smokers have a greater risk of lung cancer than lifelong non-smokers or former smokers.
Tobacco use continues to be a major cause of cancer in the developed world and, despite significant progress in this country in tobacco control which is driving a decrease in cancer mortality, there are still over one billion smokers in the world. This perspective discusses some selected issues in tobacco carcinogenesis focusing on progress during the 20 years of publication of Chemical Research in Toxicology. The topics covered include metabolism and DNA modification by tobacco-specific nitrosamines, tobacco carcinogen biomarkers, an unidentified DNA ethylating agent in cigarette smoke, mutations in the K-RAS and p53 gene in tobacco-induced lung cancer and their possible relationship to specific carcinogens, secondhand smoke and lung cancer, emerging issues in smokeless tobacco use, and a conceptual model for understanding tobacco carcinogenesis. It is hoped that a better understanding of mechanisms of tobacco-induced cancer will lead to new and useful approaches for prevention of lung cancer and other cancers caused by tobacco use.
tobacco specific nitrosamines; secondhand smoke; smokeless tobacco; tobacco carcinogen biomarkers
More than 161,000 lung cancer deaths are projected to occur in the U.S. in 2008. Of these, an estimated 10–15% will be caused by factors other than active smoking, corresponding to 16,000–24,000 deaths annually. Thus lung cancer in never smokers would rank among the most common causes of cancer mortality in the U.S. if considered to be a separate category. Slightly more than half of the lung cancers caused by factors other than active smoking occur in never smokers. As summarized in the accompanying article, lung cancers that occur in never smokers differ from those that occur in smokers in their molecular profile and response to targeted therapy. These recent laboratory and clinical observations highlight the importance of defining the genetic and environmental factors responsible for the development of lung cancer in never-smokers. This article summarizes available data on the clinical epidemiology of lung cancer in never smokers, and the several environmental risk factors that population-based research has implicated in the etiology of these cancers. Primary factors closely tied to lung cancer in never smokers include exposure to known and suspected carcinogens including radon, second-hand tobacco smoke, and other indoor air pollutants. Several other exposures have been implicated. However, a large fraction of lung cancers occurring in never-smokers cannot be definitively associated with established environmental risk factors, highlighting the need for additional epidemiologic research in this area.
To examine associations between occupation and lung cancer by gender and race.
We used data from the Maryland Lung Cancer Study of nonsmall cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC), a multicenter case control study, to estimate odds ratios (ORs) of NSCLC in different occupations.
After adjusting for smoking, environmental tobacco smoke, and other covariates, NSCLC ORs among women but not men were elevated in clerical-sales, service, and transportation-material handling occupations; ORs were significantly increased in all three categories (OR [95% confidence interval]: 4.07 [1.44 to 11.48]; 5.15 [1.62 to 16.34]; 7.82 [1.08 to 56.25], respectively), among black women, but only in transportation-material handling occupations (OR [95% confidence interval[: 3.43 [1.02 to 11.50]) among white women.
Women, especially black women, in certain occupations had increased NSCLC ORs.
OBJECTIVE: To estimate the risk of lung cancer in lifelong non-smokers exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. DESIGN: Analysis of 37 published epidemiological studies of the risk of lung cancer (4626 cases) in non-smokers who did and did not live with a smoker. The risk estimate was compared with that from linear extrapolation of the risk in smokers using seven studies of biochemical markers of tobacco smoke intake. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Relative risk of lung cancer in lifelong non-smokers according to whether the spouse currently smoked or had never smoked. RESULTS: The excess risk of lung cancer was 24% (95% confidence interval 13% to 36%) in non-smokers who lived with a smoker (P < 0.001). Adjustment for the effects of bias (positive and negative) and dietary confounding had little overall effect; the adjusted excess risk was 26% (7% to 47%). The dose-response relation of the risk of lung cancer with both the number of cigarettes smoked by the spouse and the duration of exposure was significant. The excess risk derived by linear extrapolation from that in smokers was 19%, similar to the direct estimate of 26%. CONCLUSION: The epidemiological and biochemical evidence on exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, with the supporting evidence of tobacco specific carcinogens in the blood and urine of non-smokers exposed to environmental tobacco smoke, provides compelling confirmation that breathing other people's tobacco smoke is a cause of lung cancer.
Background: Smoking has been causally associated with increased mortality from several diseases, and has increased considerably in many developing countries in the past few decades. Mortality attributable to smoking in the year 2000 was estimated for adult males and females, including estimates by age and for specific diseases in 14 epidemiological subregions of the world.
Methods: Lung cancer mortality was used as an indirect marker of the accumulated hazard of smoking. Never-smoker lung cancer mortality was estimated based on the household use of coal with poor ventilation. Estimates of mortality caused by smoking were made for lung cancer, upper aerodigestive cancer, all other cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), other respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and selected other medical causes. Estimates were limited to ages 30 years and above.
Results: In 2000, an estimated 4.83 million premature deaths in the world were attributable to smoking, 2.41 million in developing countries and 2.43 million in industrialised countries. There were 3.84 million male deaths and 1.00 million female deaths attributable to smoking. 2.69 million smoking attributable deaths were between the ages of 30–69 years, and 2.14 million were 70 years of age and above. The leading causes of death from smoking in industrialised regions were cardiovascular diseases (1.02 million deaths), lung cancer (0.52 million deaths), and COPD (0.31 million deaths), and in the developing world cardiovascular diseases (0.67 million deaths), COPD (0.65 million deaths), and lung cancer (0.33 million deaths). The share of male and female deaths and younger and older adult deaths, and of various diseases in total smoking attributable deaths exhibited large inter-regional heterogeneity, especially in the developing world.
Conclusions: Smoking was an important cause of global mortality in 2000, affecting a large number of diseases. Age, sex, and disease patterns of smoking-caused mortality varied greatly across regions, due to both historical and current smoking patterns, and the presence of other risk factors that affect background mortality from specific diseases.
Cigarette smoking by children and adolescents continues to be prevalent, and this fact represents a major public health problem and challenge. Epidemiologic work has previously suggested that exposure of the lung to tobacco carcinogens at an early age may be an independent risk factor for lung cancer. Recent studies at the molecular and cellular levels are consistent with this, now suggesting that early exposure enhances DNA damage and is associated with the induction of DNA alterations in specific chromosomal regions. In this paper we hypothesize that adolescence, which is known to be the period of greatest development for the lung, may constitute a "critical period" in which tobacco carcinogens can induce fields of genetic alterations that make the early smoker more susceptible to the damaging effects of continued smoking. The fact that lung development differs by sex might also contribute to apparent gender differences in lung cancer susceptibility. Because this hypothesis has important implications for health policy and tobacco control, additional resources need to be devoted to its further evaluation. Targeted intervention in adolescent smoking may yield even greater reductions in lung cancer occurrence than otherwise anticipated.
Background: MET amplification has been detected in ∼20% of non-small-cell lung cancer patients (NSCLC) with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations progressing after an initial response to tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy.
Patients and methods: We analyzed MET gene copy number using FISH in two related NSCLC cell lines, one sensitive (HCC827) and one resistant (HCC827 GR6) to gefitinib therapy and in two different NSCLC patient populations: 24 never smokers or EGFR FISH-positive patients treated with gefitinib (ONCOBELL cohort) and 182 surgically resected NSCLC not exposed to anti-EGFR agents.
Results: HCC827 GR6-resistant cell line displayed MET amplification, with a mean MET copy number >12, while sensitive HCC827 cell line had a mean MET copy number of 4. In the ONCOBELL cohort, no patient had gene amplification and MET gene copy number was not associated with outcome to gefitinib therapy. Among the surgically resected patients, MET was amplified in 12 cases (7.3%) and only four (2.4%) had a higher MET copy number than the resistant HCC827 GR6 cell line.
Conclusions: MET gene amplification is a rare event in patients with advanced NSCLC. The development of anti-MET therapeutic strategies should be focused on patients with acquired EGFR-TKI resistance.
EGFR; gefitinib; MET; non-small cell lung cancer; tyrosine kinase inhibitor
Background: Both gefitinib and erlotinib are reversible epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors, but they have somewhat different pharmacological properties. We conducted a phase II study of erlotinib after failure of gefitinib treatment in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Patients and methods: Patients with advanced/metastatic NSCLC who had shown disease progression on gefitinib treatment were treated with erlotinib 150 mg/day until disease progression or intolerable toxicity.
Results: Between September 2006 and January 2008, a total of 23 patients were enrolled and all were assessable for response and toxicity. All patients were never smokers and all but one had adenocarcinoma. Of these 23 patients, one had a partial response and one stable disease, resulting in an objective response rate of 4.3% and a disease control rate of 8.7%. These two patients benefited from erlotinib for 6.2 months and 7.8 months, respectively; both had also benefited from prior gefitinib therapy. The most common toxic effects were skin rash and diarrhea.
Conclusion: Erlotinib should not be given routinely after failure of gefitinib treatment, but can be an option for more highly selected subsets, especially those who had benefited from prior gefitinib treatment. Identification of molecular markers in tumors is important to understand and overcome acquired resistance to gefitinib.
erlotinib; gefitinib; non-small cell lung cancer
These data point toward the need for improved evidence-based use of resources in the third-line setting of stage IV NSCLC.
Evidence-based treatment guidelines for non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) exist to improve the quality of care for patients with this disease. However, how often evidence-based decisions are used for care of NSCLC is poorly understood.
Patients and Methods:
We examined patterns of care and rate of adherence to evidence-based guidelines for 185 new NSCLC patients seen between 2007 and 2009. Evidence-based care status was determined for 150 patients.
Eighty-one percent of the patients were white, the mean age was 66 years, 49% were women, 11% were never smokers, 83% had Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 0 to 1, 49.7% of tumors were adenocarcinomas, 57.1% of never smokers had tumors genotyped (EGFR, ALK, KRAS), and 13.3% participated in clinical trials. The rate of evidence-based treatment adherence was 94.1% (16 of 17), 100% (21 of 21) and 100% (36 of 36) in patients with stages I, II, and III NSCLC, respectively. Stage IV disease, with adherence of 76.3% (58 of 76), was correlated with a higher rate of nonadherence when compared with stages I-III (odds ratio 16.33; 95% CI, 1.94 to 137.73). In patients with stage IV disease, the rate of evidence-based adherence was 95% (72 of 76) for first-line therapy, 95.2% (40 of 42) for second-line therapy, and only 33.3% (6 of 18) for third-line therapy (P < .001). There was no significant correlation between evidence-based adherence status and the patient's age, sex, performance status, smoking history, ethnicity, or the treating physician.
These data point toward the need for improved evidence-based use of resources in the third-line setting of stage IV NSCLC.
Recently published evidence indicates that involuntary smoking causes an increased risk of lung cancer among nonsmokers. Information was compiled on the proportion of people who had never smoked among victims of lung cancer, the risk of lung cancer for nonsmokers married to smokers and the prevalence of such exposure. On the basis of these data we estimate that 50 to 60 of the deaths from lung cancer in Canada in 1985 among people who had never smoked were caused by spousal smoking; about 90% occurred in women. The total number of deaths from lung cancer attributable to exposure to tobacco smoke from spouses and other sources (mainly the workplace) was derived by applying estimated age- and sex-specific rates of death from lung cancer attributable to such exposure to the population of Canadians who have never smoked; about 330 deaths from lung cancer annually are attributable to such exposure.
Differences in the histological manifestation of synchronous lung cancers are rare. Synchronous multiple primary lung cancers (SMPLC) are associated with long-term tobacco use, which could independently lead to mutations in the p53 and K-ras genes. We present the case of an 82-year-old man who smoked 30 cigarettes daily for the past 60 years. CT of the chest showed a right upper lobe mass. Bronchoscopy revealed an intra-lumen nodular lesion in the right lower lobe bronchus. The diagnoses of small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) of the right upper lobe and non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) of the right lower lobe were confirmed by the morphologic features and the detected immunoreactivity. Immunohistochemical analyses showed a strong positive reaction for p53 in samples of the SCLC and NSCLC. The cancers had a different phenotype, but similar genetic abnormalities may have developed due to the carcinogens in the cigarettes.
Several countries are discussing new legislation on the ban of smoking in public places, and on the acceptable levels of traffic-related air pollutants. It is therefore useful to estimate the burden of disease associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution.
We have estimated exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) and to air pollution in never smokers and ex-smokers in a large prospective study in 10 European countries (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition)(N = 520,000). We report estimates of the proportion of lung cancers attributable to ETS and air pollution in this population.
The proportion of lung cancers in never- and ex-smokers attributable to ETS was estimated as between 16 and 24%, mainly due to the contribution of work-related exposure. We have also estimated that 5–7% of lung cancers in European never smokers and ex-smokers are attributable to high levels of air pollution, as expressed by NO2 or proximity to heavy traffic roads. NO2 is the expression of a mixture of combustion (traffic-related) particles and gases, and is also related to power plants and waste incinerator emissions.
We have estimated risks of lung cancer attributable to ETS and traffic-related air pollution in a large prospective study in Europe. Information bias can be ruled out due to the prospective design, and we have thoroughly controlled for potential confounders, including restriction to never smokers and long-term ex-smokers. Concerning traffic-related air pollution, the thresholds for indicators of exposure we have used are rather strict, i.e. they correspond to the high levels of exposure that characterize mainly Southern European countries (levels of NO2 in Denmark and Sweden are closer to 10–20 ug/m3, whereas levels in Italy are around 30 or 40, or higher).
Therefore, further reduction in exposure levels below 30 ug/m3 would correspond to additional lung cancer cases prevented, and our estimate of 5–7% is likely to be an underestimate. Overall, our prospective study draws attention to the need for strict legislation concerning the quality of air in Europe.