A new study has been conducted to explain how lung cancers develop in people who have never smoked. To describe booms, music-inspired expressions such as soft, half high and strong are used.
The international research, published in Nature Genetics, represents an important step toward future personalized therapies, more accurate diagnoses and revealing how mutations depend on normal intracellular processes.
Scientists began to lift the veil on a mysterious phenomenon until now led by the Italian Maria Theresa Landi, who settled in the United States of America many years ago after obtaining a doctorate in molecular epidemiology at the University of Milan, where she works in the Department of Epidemiology. and genetics from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in Bethesda. The Italian involvement in research is important, with the Irccs Casa Sollievo della Sofevole in San Giovanni Rotondo and Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore in Milan and Regina Elena in Rome, University of Bari.
As for the more than two million people diagnosed with lung cancer each year, the majority are smokers and it is estimated that only a small percentage, between 10% and 15%, have never smoked. It is possible for some people to get sick from exposure to secondhand smoke or other environmental factors, from radon gas to pollutants, but the mechanism that makes non-smokers sick was not known until now.
The first data now comes from research coordinated by Landy and based on tumor DNA sequences taken from 232 never-smokers patients with lung cancer, 75% of whom were women and the average age was about 65 years. “What we’re seeing is that there are many subtypes of lung cancer in non-smokers that have distinct molecular characteristics and evolutionary processes,” Landy says. “In the future, we may be able to have different treatments based on these subtypes,” he adds.
The researchers assigned the names of the three music-inspired subgenres, in reference to the noise level, that is, the amount of mutations they cause. Thus “slowly” corresponds to the larger group, which has many hard-to-treat mutations and in which tumor formation occurs very slowly, over a period of years. The ‘semi-strong’ subtype has mutations in the Egfr gene, usually changes in many forms of lung cancer, and leads to faster disease progression. Finally, the ‘strong’ subtype arises from a genetic mechanism more similar to that seen in smokers’ tumors and rapidly progresses. Based on these differences, it is now possible to calibrate diagnoses and treatments.
(Unioneonline / ss)
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