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1.  Progesterone and estrogen receptor expression and activity in human non-small cell lung cancer 
Steroids  2011;76(9):910-920.
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.
PMCID: PMC3129425  PMID: 21600232
Progesterone; Estrogen; Steroid hormone receptor; Non-small cell lung cancer; VEGF; Progenitor cells; Cancer stem cells; Angiogenesis
2.  Impact of Neuro-Psychological Factors on Smoking-Associated Lung Cancer 
Cancers  2014;6(1):580-594.
Smoking has been extensively documented as a risk factor for all histological types of lung cancer and tobacco-specific nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons reproducibly cause lung cancer in laboratory rodents. However, the most common lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), frequently develops in never smokers and is particularly common in women and African Americans, suggesting that factors unrelated to smoking significantly impact this cancer. Recent experimental investigations in vitro and in animal models have shown that chronic psychological stress and the associated hyperactive signaling of stress neurotransmitters via β-adrenergic receptors significantly promote the growth and metastatic potential of NSCLC. These responses were caused by modulation in the expression and sensitization state of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) that regulate the production of stress neurotransmitters and the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Similar changes in nAChR-mediated neurotransmitter production were identified as the cause of NSCLC stimulation in vitro and in xenograft models by chronic nicotine. Collectively, these data suggest that hyperactivity of the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system caused by chronic psychological stress or chronic exposure to nicotinic agonists in cigarette smoke significantly contribute to the development and progression of NSCLC. A recent clinical study that reported improved survival outcomes with the incidental use of β-blockers among patients with NSCLC supports this interpretation.
PMCID: PMC3980616  PMID: 24633083
smoking; non-small cell lung cancer; nicotinic receptors; β-adrenergic receptors; sympathicus hyperactivity; psychological stress
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.
PMCID: PMC2950319  PMID: 19755392
4.  Arsenic, asbestos and radon: emerging players in lung tumorigenesis 
Environmental Health  2012;11:89.
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.
PMCID: PMC3534001  PMID: 23173984
5.  Lung cancer and occupation: results of a multicentre case-control study. 
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.
PMCID: PMC1012148  PMID: 1419861
6.  Relation between smoking history and gene expression profiles in lung adenocarcinomas 
BMC Medical Genomics  2012;5:22.
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.
PMCID: PMC3447685  PMID: 22676229
Lung cancer; Smoking; Gene expression analysis; Adenocarcinoma; EGFR; Never-smokers; Immune response
7.  Promoter methylation of RASSF1A and DAPK and mutations of K-ras, p53, and EGFR in lung tumors from smokers and never-smokers 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:74.
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.
PMCID: PMC1877812  PMID: 17477876
8.  Tobacco Smoking and Lung Cancer 
Tobacco smoking remains the most established cause of lung carcinogenesis and other disease processes. Over the last 50 years, tobacco refinement and the introduction of filters have brought a change in histology, and now adenocarcinoma has become the most prevalent subtype. Over the last decade, smoking also has emerged as a strong prognostic and predictive patient characteristic along with other variables. This article briefly reviews scientific facts about tobacco, and the process and molecular pathways involved in lung carcinogenesis in smokers and never-smokers. The evidence from randomised trials about tobacco smoking’s impact on lung cancer outcomes is also reviewed.
PMCID: PMC3749017  PMID: 23984018
Tobacco Smoking; Lung Neoplasms; Nicotine; EML4 ALK fusion protein, human; K-Ras Gene; Receptor, Epidermal Growth Factor; Carcinogens
9.  Driver Mutations Determine Survival in Smokers and Never Smokers with Stage IIIB/IV Lung Adenocarcinomas 
Cancer  2012;118(23):5840-5847.
We previously demonstrated that stage IIIB/IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) never smokers lived 50% longer than former/current smokers. This observation persisted after adjusting for age, performance status, and gender. We hypothesized that smoking-dependent differences in the distribution of driver mutations might explain differences in prognosis between these subgroups.
We reviewed 293 never smokers and 382 former/current smokers with lung adenocarcinoma who underwent testing for EGFR and KRAS mutations and rearrangements in ALK between 2009 and 2010. Clinical outcomes and patient characteristics were collected. Survival probabilities were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Group comparison was performed with log-rank tests and Cox proportional hazards methods.
While the overall incidence of these mutations was nearly identical (55% never smokers vs. 57% current/former smokers, p=0.48), there were significant differences in the distribution of mutations between these groups: EGFR mutations- 37% never smokers vs. 14% former/current smokers (p<0.0001); KRAS mutations- 4% never smokers vs. 43% former/current smokers (p<0.0001); ALK rearrangements- 12% never smokers vs. 2% former/current smokers (p<0.0001). Among never smokers and former/current smokers, prognosis differed significantly by genotype. Patients harboring KRAS mutations demonstrated the poorest survival. Smoking status, however, had no influence on survival within each genotype.
Never smokers and former/current smokers with lung adenocarcinomas are not homogeneous subgroups. Each is made up of individuals whose tumors have a unique distribution of driver mutations which are associated with different prognoses, irrespective of smoking history.
PMCID: PMC3424296  PMID: 22605530
non-small cell lung cancer; adenocarcinoma; EGFR; KRAS; ALK; never smoker
10.  Differences in clinical presentation of non-small cell lung cancer in never-smokers versus smokers 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2013;5(6):758-763.
This study was conducted to evaluate whether or not tumor spread and the diagnostic process in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is different based on smoking history.
Associations between smoking status and clinical presentation were evaluated controlling for the effect of histology. Lung cancer with delayed diagnosis (LCDD) and incidental detection (LCID) were determined based on medical records.
Of 914 patients, frequency of distant metastases was more common in never-smokers than in smokers (59% and 36%, respectively; P<0.001). Although never-smokers were more likely to have LCDD than smokers (18% and 11%, respectively; P=0.038), LCDD were not significantly associated with frequency of distant metastases [49% (LCDD) vs. 42% (non-LCDD); P=0.189] as well as tumor [29% (T3-4) vs. 24% (T1-2); P=0.134] and node [43% (N2-3) vs. 44% (N0-1); P=0.838] stage. Interestingly, never-smokers are more likely to have LCID than smokers (31% and 19%, respectively; P=0.010). In survival analysis, LCID (P=0.001; HR, 0.63) remained a prognostic factor, while LCDD did not.
This study suggests distinct metastatic pattern and diagnostic processes of never-smokers. The link between survival and incidental detection was also indicated.
PMCID: PMC3886698  PMID: 24409352
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); advanced stage; incidental detection; smoking history
11.  COPD increases the risk of squamous histological subtype in smokers who develop non-small cell lung carcinoma 
Thorax  2004;59(8):679-681.
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.
PMCID: PMC1747095  PMID: 15282388
12.  TP53 Mutations in Korean Patients with Non-small Cell Lung Cancer 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2010;25(5):698-705.
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.
PMCID: PMC2858827  PMID: 20436704
Lung Neoplasms; Mutation; Genes, p53
13.  Family history of lung cancer in never smokers with non-small-cell lung cancer and its association with tumors harboring EGFR mutations 
Inherited susceptibility to lung cancer is understudied. Never smokers are an important subgroup of patients enriched for tumors harboring oncogene aberrations in the EGFR and ALK genes. We aimed to better characterize the incidence of family history of lung cancer among never smokers with NSCLC.
Clinicopathologic data, tumor genotype, family history of cancer, and specifically family history of lung cancer from 230 consecutive never smokers was retrospectively compiled and analyzed.
In our cohort, the median age was 56 years, 67% were women, 75% were white, 59% had advanced NSCLC and 87% had adenocarcinoma histology. In these tumors, 98/230 (42%) had an EGFR mutation, 17/155 (11%) had KRAS mutations and 27/127 (21%) had an ALK translocation. Family history of any cancer was common (57%) and specific family history of lung cancer was present in 42/230 cases (18%). The percentage of cases with family history of lung cancer was higher in the EGFR mutated versus EGFR wild-type NSCLCs. Out of the cases with a family history of any cancer, 22/53 (41.5%) EGFR mutated, 1/5 (20%) KRAS mutated and 3/19 (15.5%) ALK translocated cohorts had a family history of lung cancer. The ratio of family history of lung cancer to family history of cancer was significantly higher in the EGFR mutated cohort when compared to the ALK translocated plus KRAS mutated cohorts (p=0.039).
Family history of lung cancer is common in never smokers with NSCLC, and there seems to be a particular link in families in which the proband has an EGFR mutated tumor when compared to ALK translocated or KRAS mutated tumors. Further study of families with EGFR-mutated NSCLC may yield insights into the pathogenesis of this tumor type.
PMCID: PMC3566317  PMID: 23273562
lung cancer; non-small-cell lung cancer; family history; never smokers; epidermal growth factor receptor; EGFR; anaplastic lymphoma kinase; ALK; KRAS
14.  The Natural Tumor Suppressor Protein Maspin and Potential Application in Non Small Cell Lung Cancer 
Current pharmaceutical design  2010;16(16):1877-1881.
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.
PMCID: PMC2908495  PMID: 20337574
lung cancer; molecular marker; prognosis; histological subtypes; histone deacetylase 1; natural HDAC inhibitor; subcellular localization; differential expression; drug discovery
15.  Lung carcinoma signaling pathways activated by smoking 
Chinese Journal of Cancer  2011;30(8):551-558.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women worldwide, with over a million deaths annually. Tobacco smoke is the major etiologic risk factor for lung cancer in current or previous smokers and has been strongly related to certain types of lung cancer, such as small cell lung carcinoma and squamous cell lung carcinoma. In recent years, there has been an increased incidence of lung adenocarcinoma. This change is strongly associated with changes in smoking behavior and cigarette design. Carcinogens present in tobacco products and their intermediate metabolites can activate multiple signaling pathways that contribute to lung cancer Carcinogenesis. In this review, we summarize the smoking-activated signaling pathways involved in lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC4013405  PMID: 21801603
Lung cancer; signaling pathways; Carcinogenesis; cigarette smoking
16.  Update on anti-angiogenic therapy in non-small cell lung cancer: Are we making progress? 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2011;3(1):19-29.
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.
PMCID: PMC3256499  PMID: 22263059
lung cancer; VEGF; angiogenesis; antiangiogenesis
17.  Progress and Challenges in Selected Areas of Tobacco Carcinogenesis 
Chemical research in toxicology  2007;21(1):160-171.
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.
PMCID: PMC2556958  PMID: 18052103
tobacco specific nitrosamines; secondhand smoke; smokeless tobacco; tobacco carcinogen biomarkers
18.  Smoking-related Genomic Signatures in Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer 
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.
PMCID: PMC2720147  PMID: 18776155
array comparative genomic hybridization; tobacco; profile; microarray
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.
PMCID: PMC3170525  PMID: 19755391
20.  Lung cancer in never smokers Epidemiology and risk prediction models 
In this chapter we review the epidemiology of lung cancer incidence and mortality among never smokers/ nonsmokers and describe the never smoker lung cancer risk models used by CISNET modelers. Our review focuses on those influences likely to have measurable population impact on never smoker risk, such as secondhand smoke, even though the individual-level impact may be small. Occupational exposures may also contribute importantly to the population attributable risk of lung cancer. We examine the following risk factors in this chapter: age, environmental tobacco smoke, cooking fumes, ionizing radiation including radon gas, inherited genetic susceptibility, selected occupational exposures, preexisting lung disease, and oncogenic viruses. We also compare the prevalence of never smokers between the three CISNET smoking scenarios and present the corresponding lung cancer mortality estimates among never smokers as predicted by a typical CISNET model.
PMCID: PMC3485693  PMID: 22882894
Though tobacco smoking is the primary risk factor for lung cancer, a significant fraction of lung cancer deaths occur in lifetime non-smokers. In this paper, we calculate the burden of lung cancer in never-smokers attributable to previously identified risk factors in North America, Europe, and China, using population-based estimates of exposure prevalence and estimates of relative risk derived from recently published meta-analyses. Population attributable fractions (PAFs) for individual risk factors ranged from 0.40% to 19.93%. Due to differences in the prevalence of exposures, the PAFs associated with several of the risk factors varied greatly by geographical region. Exposure to the selected risk factors appeared to explain a much larger proportion of lung cancer cases in never-smokers in China than in Europe and North America. Our results demonstrate the geographic variability of the epidemiology of lung cancer in never-smokers, and highlight the need for further research in this area, particularly in Europe and North America.
PMCID: PMC3359408  PMID: 22322343
lung cancer; population attributable fraction; non-smokers
22.  Invited Commentary: The Etiology of Lung Cancer in Men Compared With Women 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;177(7):613-616.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States and other Western nations. The predominant cause of lung cancer in women is active cigarette smoking. Secondhand exposure to tobacco smoke is another important cause. The hypothesis that women are more susceptible than men to smoking-induced lung cancer has not been supported by the preponderance of current data, as noted by De Matteis et al. (Am J Epidemiol. 2013;177(7):601–612) in the accompanying article. However, aspects of lung cancer in men and women continue to indicate potential male-female differences in the etiology of lung cancer, based on several observations: 1) among never smokers, women have higher lung cancer incidence rates than men; 2) there is evidence that estrogen may contribute to lung cancer risk and progression; and 3) there are different clinical characteristics of lung cancer in women compared with men, such as the higher percentage of adenocarcinomas in never smokers, the greater prevalence of epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) mutations in adenocarcinomas among never smokers, and better prognosis. Considered in total, observations such as these offer enticing clues that, even amid cigarette smoking and other commonalities in the etiology of lung cancer in men and women, distinct differences may remain to be delineated that could potentially be of scientific and clinical relevance.
PMCID: PMC3657534  PMID: 23425628
cigarettes; estrogen; lung cancer; men; secondhand smoke exposure; sex; smoking; women
23.  Occupation, Gender, Race, and Lung Cancer 
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.
PMCID: PMC2585362  PMID: 18849762
24.  The accumulated evidence on lung cancer and environmental tobacco smoke. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1997;315(7114):980-988.
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.
PMCID: PMC2127653  PMID: 9365295
25.  Teen smoking, field cancerization, and a "critical period" hypothesis for lung cancer susceptibility. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2002;110(6):555-558.
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.
PMCID: PMC1240869  PMID: 12055044

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