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1.  Gene expression subtraction of non-cancerous lung from smokers and non-smokers with adenocarcinoma, as a predictor for smokers developing lung cancer 
Lung cancer is the commonest cause of cancer death in developed countries. Adenocarcinoma is becoming the most common form of lung cancer. Cigarette smoking is the main risk factor for lung cancer. Long-term cigarettes smoking may be characterized by genetic alteration and diffuse injury of the airways surface, named field cancerization, while cancer in non-smokers is usually clonally derived. Detecting specific genes expression changes in non-cancerous lung in smokers with adenocarcinoma may give us instrument for predicting smokers who are going to develop this malignancy.
We described the gene expression in non-cancerous lungs from 21 smoker patients with lung adenocarcinoma and compare it to gene expression in non-cancerous lung tissue from 10 non-smokers with primary lung adenocarcinoma.
Total RNA was isolated from peripheral non-cancerous lung tissue. The cDNA was hybridized to the U133A GeneChip array. Hierarchical clustering analysis on genes obtained from smokers and non-smokers, after subtracting were exported to the Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software for further analysis.
The genes subtraction resulted in disclosure of 36 genes with high score. They were subsequently mapped and sorted based on location, cellular components, and biochemical activity. The gene functional analysis disclosed 20 genes, which are involved in cancer process (P = 7.05E-5 to 2.92E-2).
Detected genes may serve as a predictor for smokers who may be at high risk of developing lung cancer. In addition, since these genes originating from non-cancerous lung, which is the major area of the lungs, a sample from an induced sputum may represent it.
PMCID: PMC2570656  PMID: 18811983
2.  Gene Expression Signature of Cigarette Smoking and Its Role in Lung Adenocarcinoma Development and Survival 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(2):e1651.
Tobacco smoking is responsible for over 90% of lung cancer cases, and yet the precise molecular alterations induced by smoking in lung that develop into cancer and impact survival have remained obscure.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We performed gene expression analysis using HG-U133A Affymetrix chips on 135 fresh frozen tissue samples of adenocarcinoma and paired noninvolved lung tissue from current, former and never smokers, with biochemically validated smoking information. ANOVA analysis adjusted for potential confounders, multiple testing procedure, Gene Set Enrichment Analysis, and GO-functional classification were conducted for gene selection. Results were confirmed in independent adenocarcinoma and non-tumor tissues from two studies. We identified a gene expression signature characteristic of smoking that includes cell cycle genes, particularly those involved in the mitotic spindle formation (e.g., NEK2, TTK, PRC1). Expression of these genes strongly differentiated both smokers from non-smokers in lung tumors and early stage tumor tissue from non-tumor tissue (p<0.001 and fold-change >1.5, for each comparison), consistent with an important role for this pathway in lung carcinogenesis induced by smoking. These changes persisted many years after smoking cessation. NEK2 (p<0.001) and TTK (p = 0.002) expression in the noninvolved lung tissue was also associated with a 3-fold increased risk of mortality from lung adenocarcinoma in smokers.
Our work provides insight into the smoking-related mechanisms of lung neoplasia, and shows that the very mitotic genes known to be involved in cancer development are induced by smoking and affect survival. These genes are candidate targets for chemoprevention and treatment of lung cancer in smokers.
PMCID: PMC2249927  PMID: 18297132
3.  Genetic Variation and Antioxidant Response Gene Expression in the Bronchial Airway Epithelium of Smokers at Risk for Lung Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e11934.
Prior microarray studies of smokers at high risk for lung cancer have demonstrated that heterogeneity in bronchial airway epithelial cell gene expression response to smoking can serve as an early diagnostic biomarker for lung cancer. As a first step in applying functional genomic analysis to population studies, we have examined the relationship between gene expression variation and genetic variation in a central molecular pathway (NRF2-mediated antioxidant response) associated with smoking exposure and lung cancer. We assessed global gene expression in histologically normal airway epithelial cells obtained at bronchoscopy from smokers who developed lung cancer (SC, n = 20), smokers without lung cancer (SNC, n = 24), and never smokers (NS, n = 8). Functional enrichment analysis showed that the NRF2-mediated, antioxidant response element (ARE)-regulated genes, were significantly lower in SC, when compared with expression levels in SNC. Importantly, we found that the expression of MAFG (a binding partner of NRF2) was correlated with the expression of ARE genes, suggesting MAFG levels may limit target gene induction. Bioinformatically we identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in putative ARE genes and to test the impact of genetic variation, we genotyped these putative regulatory SNPs and other tag SNPs in selected NRF2 pathway genes. Sequencing MAFG locus, we identified 30 novel SNPs and two were associated with either gene expression or lung cancer status among smokers. This work demonstrates an analysis approach that integrates bioinformatics pathway and transcription factor binding site analysis with genotype, gene expression and disease status to identify SNPs that may be associated with individual differences in gene expression and/or cancer status in smokers. These polymorphisms might ultimately contribute to lung cancer risk via their effect on the airway gene expression response to tobacco-smoke exposure.
PMCID: PMC2914741  PMID: 20689807
4.  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
5.  Concomitant promoter methylation of multiple genes in lung adenocarcinomas from current, former and never smokers 
Carcinogenesis  2009;30(7):1132-1138.
Aberrant promoter hypermethylation is one of the major mechanisms in carcinogenesis and some critical growth regulatory genes have shown commonality in methylation across solid tumors. Twenty-six genes, 14 identified through methylation in colon and breast cancers, were evaluated using primary lung adenocarcinomas (n = 175) from current, former and never smokers. Tumor specificity of methylation was validated through comparison of 14 lung cancer cell lines to normal human bronchial epithelial cells derived from bronchoscopy of 20 cancer-free smokers. Twenty-five genes were methylated in 11–81% of primary tumors. Prevalence for methylation of TNFRSF10C, BHLHB5 and BOLL was significantly higher in adenocarcinomas from never smokers than smokers. The relation between methylation of individual genes was examined using pairwise comparisons. A significant association was seen between 138 (42%) of the possible 325 pairwise comparisons. Most notably, methylation of MMP2, BHLHB4 or p16 was significantly associated with methylation of 16–19 other genes, thus predicting for a widespread methylation phenotype. Kaplan–Meier log-rank test and proportional hazard models identified a significant association between methylation of SULF2 (a pro-growth, -angiogenesis and -migration gene) and better patient survival (hazard ratio = 0.23). These results demonstrate a high degree of commonality for targeted silencing of genes between lung and other solid tumors and suggest that promoter hypermethylation in cancer is a highly co-ordinated event.
PMCID: PMC2704285  PMID: 19435948
6.  Molecular Epidemiology of EGFR and KRAS Mutations in 3026 Lung Adenocarcinomas: Higher Susceptibility of Women to Smoking-related KRAS-mutant Cancers 
The molecular epidemiology of most EGFR and KRAS mutations in lung cancer remains unclear.
Experimental Design
We genotyped 3026 lung adenocarcinomas for the major EGFR (exon 19 deletions and L858R) and KRAS (G12, G13) mutations and examined correlations with demographic, clinical and smoking history data.
EGFR mutations were found in 43% of never smokers (NS) and in 11% of smokers. KRAS mutations occurred in 34% of smokers and in 6% of NS. In patients with smoking histories up to 10 pack-years, EGFR predominated over KRAS. Among former smokers with lung cancer, multivariate analysis showed that, independent of pack-years, increasing smoking-free years raise the likelihood of EGFR mutation. NS were more likely than smokers to have KRAS G>A transition mutation (mostly G12D) (58% vs. 20%, p=0.0001). KRAS G12C, the most common G>T transversion mutation in smokers, was more frequent in women (p=0.007) and these women were younger than men with the same mutation (median 65 vs. 69, p=0.0008) and had smoked less.
The distinct types of KRAS mutations in smokers vs. NS suggest that most KRAS-mutant lung cancers in NS are not due to secondhand smoke exposure. The higher frequency of KRAS G12C in women, their younger age, and lesser smoking history together support a heightened susceptibility to tobacco carcinogens.
PMCID: PMC3500422  PMID: 23014527
lung cancer; tobacco; EGFR; KRAS; molecular epidemiology
7.  The Role of DNA Methylation in the Development and Progression of Lung Adenocarcinoma 
Disease Markers  2007;23(1-2):5-30.
Lung cancer, caused by smoking in ∼87% of cases, is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and Western Europe. Adenocarcinoma is now the most common type of lung cancer in men and women in the United States, and the histological subtype most frequently seen in never-smokers and former smokers. The increasing frequency of adenocarcinoma, which occurs more peripherally in the lung, is thought to be at least partially related to modifications in cigarette manufacturing that have led to a change in the depth of smoke inhalation. The rising incidence of lung adenocarcinoma and its lethal nature underline the importance of understanding the development and progression of this disease. Alterations in DNA methylation are recognized as key epigenetic changes in cancer, contributing to chromosomal instability through global hypomethylation, and aberrant gene expression through alterations in the methylation levels at promoter CpG islands. The identification of sequential changes in DNA methylation during progression and metastasis of lung adenocarcinoma, and the elucidation of their interplay with genetic changes, will broaden our molecular understanding of this disease, providing insights that may be applicable to the development of targeted drugs, as well as powerful markers for early detection and patient classification.
PMCID: PMC3851711  PMID: 17325423
AAH; adenocarcinoma; BAC; CpG island; DNA methylation; hypermethylation; hypomethylation
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
9.  Smoking-induced gene expression changes in the bronchial airway are reflected in nasal and buccal epithelium 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:259.
Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of preventable death and a significant cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Prior studies have demonstrated that smoking creates a field of molecular injury throughout the airway epithelium exposed to cigarette smoke. We have previously characterized gene expression in the bronchial epithelium of never smokers and identified the gene expression changes that occur in the mainstem bronchus in response to smoking. In this study, we explored relationships in whole-genome gene expression between extrathorcic (buccal and nasal) and intrathoracic (bronchial) epithelium in healthy current and never smokers.
Using genes that have been previously defined as being expressed in the bronchial airway of never smokers (the "normal airway transcriptome"), we found that bronchial and nasal epithelium from non-smokers were most similar in gene expression when compared to other epithelial and nonepithelial tissues, with several antioxidant, detoxification, and structural genes being highly expressed in both the bronchus and nose. Principle component analysis of previously defined smoking-induced genes from the bronchus suggested that smoking had a similar effect on gene expression in nasal epithelium. Gene set enrichment analysis demonstrated that this set of genes was also highly enriched among the genes most altered by smoking in both nasal and buccal epithelial samples. The expression of several detoxification genes was commonly altered by smoking in all three respiratory epithelial tissues, suggesting a common airway-wide response to tobacco exposure.
Our findings support a relationship between gene expression in extra- and intrathoracic airway epithelial cells and extend the concept of a smoking-induced field of injury to epithelial cells that line the mouth and nose. This relationship could potentially be utilized to develop a non-invasive biomarker for tobacco exposure as well as a non-invasive screening or diagnostic tool providing information about individual susceptibility to smoking-induced lung diseases.
PMCID: PMC2435556  PMID: 18513428
10.  Epigenomic analysis of lung adenocarcinoma reveals novel DNA methylation patterns associated with smoking 
OncoTargets and therapy  2013;6:1471-1479.
The importance of epigenetic regulation has been increasingly recognized in the development of cancer. In this study, we investigated the impact of smoking, a major risk factor of lung cancer, on DNA methylation by comparing the genome-wide DNA methylation patterns between lung adenocarcinoma samples from six smokers and six nonsmokers. We identified that smoking-induced DNA methylations were enriched in the calcium signaling and neuroactive ligand receptor signaling pathways, which are closely related to smoking-induced lung cancers. Interestingly, we discovered that two genes in the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway (RPS6KA3 and ARAF) were hypomethylated in smokers but not in nonsmokers. In addition, we found that the smoking-induced lung cancer-specific DNA methylations were mostly enriched in nuclear activities, including regulation of gene expression and chromatin remodeling. Moreover, the smoking-induced hypermethylation could only be seen in lung adenocarcinoma tissue but not in adjacent normal lung tissue. We also used differentially methylated DNA loci to construct a diagnostic model to distinguish smoking-associated lung cancer from nonsmoking lung cancer with a sensitivity of 88.9% and specificity of 83.2%. Our results provided novel evidence to support that smoking can cause dramatic changes in the DNA methylation landscape of lung cancer, suggesting that epigenetic regulation of specific oncogenic signaling pathways plays an important role in the development of lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3818101  PMID: 24204162
lung cancer; epigenome; methylation; tumor suppressor gene; smoking
11.  Deaths in Canada from lung cancer due to involuntary smoking. 
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.
PMCID: PMC1491963  PMID: 3567810
12.  Characterizing the Impact of Smoking and Lung Cancer on the Airway Transcriptome Using RNA-Seq 
Cigarette smoke creates a molecular field of injury in epithelial cells that line the respiratory tract. We hypothesized that transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) will enhance our understanding of the field of molecular injury in response to tobacco smoke exposure and lung cancer pathogenesis by identifying gene expression differences not interrogated or accurately measured by microarrays. We sequenced the high-molecular-weight fraction of total RNA (>200 nt) from pooled bronchial airway epithelial cell brushings (n = 3 patients per pool) obtained during bronchoscopy from healthy never smoker (NS) and current smoker (S) volunteers and smokers with (C) and without (NC) lung cancer undergoing lung nodule resection surgery. RNA-Seq libraries were prepared using 2 distinct approaches, one capable of capturing non-polyadenylated RNA (the prototype NuGEN Ovation RNA-Seq protocol) and the other designed to measure only polyadenylated RNA (the standard Illumina mRNA-Seq protocol) followed by sequencing generating approximately 29 million 36 nt reads per pool and approximately 22 million 75 nt paired-end reads per pool, respectively. The NuGEN protocol captured additional transcripts not detected by the Illumina protocol at the expense of reduced coverage of polyadenylated transcripts, while longer read lengths and a paired-end sequencing strategy significantly improved the number of reads that could be aligned to the genome. The aligned reads derived from the two complementary protocols were used to define the compendium of genes expressed in the airway epithelium (n = 20,573 genes). Pathways related to the metabolism of xenobiotics by cytochrome P450, retinol metabolism, and oxidoreductase activity were enriched among genes differentially expressed in smokers, whereas chemokine signaling pathways, cytokine–cytokine receptor interactions, and cell adhesion molecules were enriched among genes differentially expressed in smokers with lung cancer. There was a significant correlation between the RNA-Seq gene expression data and Affymetrix microarray data generated from the same samples (P < 0.001); however, the RNA-Seq data detected additional smoking- and cancer-related transcripts whose expression was were either not interrogated by or was not found to be significantly altered when using microarrays, including smoking-related changes in the inflammatory genes S100A8 and S100A9 and cancer-related changes in MUC5AC and secretoglobin (SCGB3A1). Quantitative real-time PCR confirmed differential expression of select genes and non-coding RNAs within individual samples. These results demonstrate that transcriptome sequencing has the potential to provide new insights into the biology of the airway field of injury associated with smoking and lung cancer. The measurement of both coding and non-coding transcripts by RNA-Seq has the potential to help elucidate mechanisms of response to tobacco smoke and to identify additional biomarkers of lung cancer risk and novel targets for chemoprevention.
PMCID: PMC3694393  PMID: 21636547
13.  Hypermethylation of CCND2 May Reflect a Smoking-Induced Precancerous Change in the Lung 
Journal of Oncology  2011;2011:950140.
It remains unknown whether tobacco smoke induces DNA hypermethylation as an early event in carcinogenesis or as a late event, specific to overt cancer tissue. Using MethyLight assays, we analyzed 316 lung tissue samples from 151 cancer-free subjects (121 ever-smokers and 30 never-smokers) for hypermethylation of 19 genes previously observed to be hypermethylated in nonsmall cell lung cancers. Only APC (39%), CCND2 (21%), CDH1 (7%), and RARB (4%) were hypermethylated in >2% of these cancer-free subjects. CCND2 was hypermethylated more frequently in ever-smokers (26%) than in never-smokers (3%). CCND2 hypermethylation was also associated with increased age and upper lobe sample location. APC was frequently hypermethylated in both ever-smokers (41%) and never-smokers (30%). BVES, CDH13, CDKN2A (p16), CDKN2B, DAPK1, IGFBP3, IGSF4, KCNH5, KCNH8, MGMT, OPCML, PCSK6, RASSF1, RUNX, and TMS1 were rarely hypermethylated (<2%) in all subjects. Hypermethylation of CCND2 may reflect a smoking-induced precancerous change in the lung.
PMCID: PMC3090638  PMID: 21577262
14.  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
15.  Frequency of driver mutations in lung adenocarcinoma from female never-smokers varies with histological subtypes and age at diagnosis 
Clinical Cancer Research  2012;18(7):1947-1953.
Our previous study revealed that 90% (47 of 52; 95% CI: 0.79–0.96) of Chinese never-smokers with lung adenocarcinoma harbor known oncogenic driver mutations in just four genes: EGFR, ALK, HER2, and KRAS. Here, we examined the status of known driver mutations specifically in female never-smokers with lung adenocarcinoma.
Experimental Design
Tumors were genotyped for mutations in EGFR, KRAS, ALK, HER2, and BRAF. Data on age, stage, tumor differentiation, histological subtypes, and molecular alterations were recorded from 349 resected lung adenocarcinomas from female never-smokers. We further compared the clinicopathological parameters according to mutational status of these genes.
Two hundred and sixty-six (76.2%) tumors harbored EGFR mutations, 16 (4.6%) HER2 mutations, 15 (4.3%) EML4-ALK fusions, seven (2.0%) KRAS mutations, and two (0.6%) BRAF mutations. In univariate analysis, patients harboring EGFR mutations were significantly older (p<0.001), whereas patients harboring HER2 mutations were significantly younger (p=0.036). Higher prevalence of KRAS (p=0.028) and HER2 (p=0.021) mutations was found in invasive mucinous adenocarcinoma (IMA). The frequency of EGFR mutations was positively correlated with acinar predominant tumors (p=0.002). Multivariate analysis revealed that older age at diagnosis (p=0.013) and acinar predominant subtype (p=0.005) were independent predictors of EGFR mutations. Independent predictors of HER2 mutations included younger age (p=0.030) and IMA (p=0.017). IMA (p=0.006) and poor differentiation (p=0.028) were independently associated with KRAS mutations.
The frequency of driver mutations in never-smoking female lung adenocarcinoma varies with histological subtypes and age at diagnosis. These data have implications for both clinical trial design and therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC3319848  PMID: 22317764
Lung adenocarcinoma; Female; Never smoker; EGFR mutation; HER2 mutation; Acinar; Mucinous; Age
16.  Mapping the hallmarks of lung adenocarcinoma with massively parallel sequencing 
Cell  2012;150(6):1107-1120.
Lung adenocarcinoma, the most common subtype of non-small cell lung cancer, is responsible for over 500,000 deaths per year worldwide. Here, we report exome and genome sequences of 183 lung adenocarcinoma tumor/normal DNA pairs. These analyses revealed a mean exonic somatic mutation rate of 12.0 events/megabase and identified the majority of genes previously reported as significantly mutated in lung adenocarcinoma. In addition, we identified statistically recurrent somatic mutations in the splicing factor gene U2AF1 and truncating mutations affecting RBM10 and ARID1A. Analysis of nucleotide context-specific mutation signatures grouped the sample set into distinct clusters that correlated with smoking history and alterations of reported lung adenocarcinoma genes. Whole genome sequence analysis revealed frequent structural re-arrangements, including in-frame exonic alterations within EGFR and SIK2 kinases. The candidate genes identified in this study are attractive targets for biological characterization and therapeutic targeting of lung adenocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3557932  PMID: 22980975
17.  Frequent expression of MAGE1 tumor antigens in bronchial epithelium of smokers without lung cancer 
Melanoma antigens (MAGE) are frequently expressed in lung cancer and are promising targets of anticancer immunotherapy. Our preliminary data suggested that MAGE may be expressed during early lung carcinogenesis, raising the possibility of targeting MAGE as a lung cancer prevention strategy. The purpose of this study was to investigate MAGE activation patterns in the airways of chronic smokers without lung cancer. MAGE-A1, -A3 and -B2 gene expression was determined in bronchial brush cells from chronic former smokers without lung cancer by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). The results were correlated with clinical parameters. The 123 subjects had a median age of 57 years, a median of 40 pack-years smoking history, and had quit smoking for at least one year prior to enrollment. Among the subjects, 31 (25%), 38 (31%), and 46 (37%) had detectable MAGE-A1, -A3 and -B2 expression, respectively, in their bronchial brush samples. Expression of MAGE-A1 and -B2 positively correlated with pack-years smoking history (P=0.03 and 0.03, respectively). The frequency of expression did not decrease despite a prolonged smoking cessation period. In conclusion, MAGE-A1, -A3 and -B2 genes are frequently expressed in the bronchial epithelial cells of chronic smokers without lung cancer, suggesting that chronic exposure to cigarette smoke activates these genes even before the malignant transformation of bronchial cells in susceptible individuals. Once activated, the expression persists despite long-term smoking cessation. These data support the targeting of MAGE as a novel lung cancer prevention strategy.
PMCID: PMC3440643  PMID: 22977481
melanoma antigens; airway; smokers; lung cancer; prevention
18.  A High-Dimensional, Deep-Sequencing Study of Lung Adenocarcinoma in Female Never-Smokers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55596.
Deep sequencing techniques provide a remarkable opportunity for comprehensive understanding of tumorigenesis at the molecular level. As omics studies become popular, integrative approaches need to be developed to move from a simple cataloguing of mutations and changes in gene expression to dissecting the molecular nature of carcinogenesis at the systemic level and understanding the complex networks that lead to cancer development.
Here, we describe a high-throughput, multi-dimensional sequencing study of primary lung adenocarcinoma tumors and adjacent normal tissues of six Korean female never-smoker patients. Our data encompass results from exome-seq, RNA-seq, small RNA-seq, and MeDIP-seq. We identified and validated novel genetic aberrations, including 47 somatic mutations and 19 fusion transcripts. One of the fusions involves the c-RET gene, which was recently reported to form fusion genes that may function as drivers of carcinogenesis in lung cancer patients. We also characterized gene expression profiles, which we integrated with genomic aberrations and gene regulations into functional networks. The most prominent gene network module that emerged indicates that disturbances in G2/M transition and mitotic progression are causally linked to tumorigenesis in these patients. Also, results from the analysis strongly suggest that several novel microRNA-target interactions represent key regulatory elements of the gene network.
Our study not only provides an overview of the alterations occurring in lung adenocarcinoma at multiple levels from genome to transcriptome and epigenome, but also offers a model for integrative genomics analysis and proposes potential target pathways for the control of lung adenocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3566005  PMID: 23405175
19.  Effect of active smoking on the human bronchial epithelium transcriptome 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:297.
Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths. Tobacco smoke exposure is the strongest aetiological factor associated with lung cancer. In this study, using serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE), we comprehensively examined the effect of active smoking by comparing the transcriptomes of clinical specimens obtained from current, former and never smokers, and identified genes showing both reversible and irreversible expression changes upon smoking cessation.
Twenty-four SAGE profiles of the bronchial epithelium of eight current, twelve former and four never smokers were generated and analyzed. In total, 3,111,471 SAGE tags representing over 110 thousand potentially unique transcripts were generated, comprising the largest human SAGE study to date. We identified 1,733 constitutively expressed genes in current, former and never smoker transcriptomes. We have also identified both reversible and irreversible gene expression changes upon cessation of smoking; reversible changes were frequently associated with either xenobiotic metabolism, nucleotide metabolism or mucus secretion. Increased expression of TFF3, CABYR, and ENTPD8 were found to be reversible upon smoking cessation. Expression of GSK3B, which regulates COX2 expression, was irreversibly decreased. MUC5AC expression was only partially reversed. Validation of select genes was performed using quantitative RT-PCR on a secondary cohort of nine current smokers, seven former smokers and six never smokers.
Expression levels of some of the genes related to tobacco smoking return to levels similar to never smokers upon cessation of smoking, while expression of others appears to be permanently altered despite prolonged smoking cessation. These irreversible changes may account for the persistent lung cancer risk despite smoking cessation.
PMCID: PMC2001199  PMID: 17727719
20.  Identification of somatic mutations in EGFR/KRAS/ALK-negative lung adenocarcinoma in never-smokers 
Genome Medicine  2014;6(2):18.
Lung adenocarcinoma is a highly heterogeneous disease with various etiologies, prognoses, and responses to therapy. Although genome-scale characterization of lung adenocarcinoma has been performed, a comprehensive somatic mutation analysis of EGFR/KRAS/ALK-negative lung adenocarcinoma in never-smokers has not been conducted.
We analyzed whole exome sequencing data from 16 EGFR/KRAS/ALK-negative lung adenocarcinomas and additional 54 tumors in two expansion cohort sets. Candidate loci were validated by target capture and Sanger sequencing. Gene set analysis was performed using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis.
We identified 27 genes potentially implicated in the pathogenesis of lung adenocarcinoma. These included targetable genes involved in PI3K/mTOR signaling (TSC1, PIK3CA, AKT2) and receptor tyrosine kinase signaling (ERBB4) and genes not previously highlighted in lung adenocarcinomas, such as SETD2 and PBRM1 (chromatin remodeling), CHEK2 and CDC27 (cell cycle), CUL3 and SOD2 (oxidative stress), and CSMD3 and TFG (immune response). In the expansion cohort (N = 70), TP53 was the most frequently altered gene (11%), followed by SETD2 (6%), CSMD3 (6%), ERBB2 (6%), and CDH10 (4%). In pathway analysis, the majority of altered genes were involved in cell cycle/DNA repair (P <0.001) and cAMP-dependent protein kinase signaling (P <0.001).
The genomic makeup of EGFR/KRAS/ALK-negative lung adenocarcinomas in never-smokers is remarkably diverse. Genes involved in cell cycle regulation/DNA repair are implicated in tumorigenesis and represent potential therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC3979047  PMID: 24576404
21.  A smoking-associated 7-gene signature for lung cancer diagnosis and prognosis 
International Journal of Oncology  2012;41(4):1387-1396.
Smoking is responsible for 90% of lung cancer cases. There is currently no clinically available gene test for early detection of lung cancer in smokers, or an effective patient selection strategy for adjuvant chemotherapy in lung cancer treatment. In this study, concurrent coexpression with multiple signaling pathways was modeled among a set of genes associated with smoking and lung cancer survival. This approach identified and validated a 7-gene signature for lung cancer diagnosis and prognosis in smokers using patient transcriptional profiles (n=847). The smoking-associated gene coexpression networks in lung adenocarcinoma tumors (n=442) were highly significant in terms of biological relevance (network precision = 0.91, FDR<0.01) when evaluated with numerous databases containing multi-level molecular associations. The gene coexpression network in smoking lung adenocarcinoma patients was confirmed in qRT-PCR assays of the identified biomarkers and involved signaling pathway genes in human lung adenocarcinoma cells (H23) treated with 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK). Furthermore, the western blotting results of p53, phospho-p53, Rb and EGFR in NNK-treated H23 and transformed normal human lung epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) support their functional involvement in smoking-induced lung cancer carcinogenesis and progression.
PMCID: PMC3481011  PMID: 22825454
smoking; lung cancer diagnosis and prognosis; gene signature; signaling pathway; coexpression networks
22.  A smoking-associated 7-gene signature for lung cancer diagnosis and prognosis 
International journal of oncology  2012;41(4):1387-1396.
Smoking is responsible for 90% of lung cancer cases. There is currently no clinically available gene test for early detection of lung cancer in smokers, or an effective patient selection strategy for adjuvant chemotherapy in lung cancer treatment. In this study, concurrent coexpression with multiple signaling pathways was modeled among a set of genes associated with smoking and lung cancer survival. This approach identified and validated a 7-gene signature for lung cancer diagnosis and prognosis in smokers using patient transcriptional profiles (n=847). The smoking-associated gene coexpression networks in lung adenocarcinoma tumors (n=442) were highly significant in terms of biological relevance (network precision=0.91, FDR<0.01) when evaluated with numerous databases containing multi-level molecular associations. The gene coexpression network in smoking lung adenocarcinoma patients was confirmed in qRT-PCR assays of the identified biomarkers and involved signaling pathway genes in human lung adenocarcinoma cells (H23) treated with 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK). Furthermore, the Western blotting results of p53, phospho-p53, Rb, and EGFR in NNK-treated H23 and transformed normal human lung epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) support their functional involvement in smoking induced lung cancer carcinogenesis and progression.
PMCID: PMC3481011  PMID: 22825454
smoking; lung cancer diagnosis and prognosis; gene signature; signaling pathway; coexpression networks
23.  Lungs don’t forget: Comparison of the KRAS and EGFR mutation profile and survival of “collegiate smokers” and never smokers with advanced lung cancers 
We hypothesize that among patients with lung cancers the KRAS/EGFR mutation profile and overall survival of “collegiate smokers” (former smokers who smoked between 101 lifetime cigarettes and 5 pack years) are distinct from those of never smokers and former smokers with ≥ 15 pack years.
We collected age, sex, stage, survival, and smoking history for patients evaluated from 2004 to 2009 with advanced stage lung cancers and known KRAS/EGFR status. Mutation profile and overall survival were compared using Fisher’s exact test and log-rank test, respectively.
Data were available for 852 patients with advanced stage lung cancers with known KRAS/EGFR status. 6% were “collegiate smokers”, 36% were never smokers, and 30% were former smokers with ≥ 15 pack years. The mutation profile of “collegiate smokers” (15% KRAS mutations, 27% EGFR mutations) was distinct from those of never smokers (p < .001) and former smokers with ≥ 15 pack years (p < .001)and not significantly different from those of former smokers with 5 to 15 pack years (p = 0.9). Median overall survival for “collegiate smokers” was 25 months, compared to 32 months for never smokers (p = 0.4), 33 months for former smokers with 5–15 pack years (p = 0.48),and 21 months for former smokers with ≥ 15 pack years (p = 0.63).
“Collegiate smokers” with advanced stage lung cancers represent a distinct subgroup of patients with a higher frequency of KRAS mutations and lower frequency of EGFR mutations compared to never smokers. These observations reinforce the recommendation for routine mutation testing for all patients with lung cancers and that no degree of tobacco exposure is safe.
PMCID: PMC3534987  PMID: 23242442
Collegiate Smokers; non-small cell lung cancers; epidermal growth factor receptor mutation; KRAS mutation
24.  Exposure misclassification bias in studies of environmental tobacco smoke and lung cancer. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  1999;107(Suppl 6):873-877.
It is now recognized that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in the workplace and other settings outside the home may be equally as important as residential ETS exposure. This review examines the sources of misclassification in the assessment of workplace ETS exposure in questionnaire-based epidemiologic studies. Cogent to this discussion is the role of misclassification of ever smokers as never smokers, which is important in studies of both workplace and residential ETS exposure and lung cancer and is discussed first. The collective evidence from studies that have used direct or indirect approaches to estimate smoker misclassification shows that although some misclassification of ever smokers as never smokers exists in studies of ETS and lung cancer, the potential bias from the misclassification of smokers is unlikely to explain the observed increased risk of lung cancer associated with ETS exposure.
PMCID: PMC1566193  PMID: 10592145
25.  Cigarette smoking and lung cancer – relative risk estimates for the major histological types from a pooled analysis of case-control studies 
Lung cancer is mainly caused by smoking, but the quantitative relations between smoking and histologic subtypes of lung cancer remain inconclusive. Using one of the largest lung cancer datasets ever assembled, we explored the impact of smoking on risks of the major cell types of lung cancer. This pooled analysis included 13,169 cases and 16,010 controls from Europe and Canada. Studies with population controls comprised 66.5% of the subjects. Adenocarcinoma (AdCa) was the most prevalent subtype in never smokers and in women. Squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC) predominated in male smokers. Age-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were estimated with logistic regression. ORs were elevated for all metrics of exposure to cigarette smoke and were higher for SqCC and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) than for AdCa. Current male smokers with an average daily dose of >30 cigarettes had ORs of 103.5 (95% CI 74.8-143.2) for SqCC, 111.3 (95% CI 69.8-177.5) for SCLC, and 21.9 (95% CI 16.6-29.0) for AdCa. In women, the corresponding ORs were 62.7 (95% CI 31.5-124.6), 108.6 (95% CI 50.7-232.8), and 16.8 (95% CI 9.2-30.6), respectively. Whereas ORs started to decline soon after quitting, they did not fully return to the baseline risk of never smokers even 35 years after cessation. The major result that smoking exerted a steeper risk gradient on SqCC and SCLC than on AdCa is in line with previous population data and biological understanding of lung cancer development.
PMCID: PMC3296911  PMID: 22052329
cigarette smoking; lung cancer; relative risk characterization; tobacco smoke; stem cells

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