Sensitive to Smoke, Lung Cancer Gene
Medical Authors and Editors: Barbara K. Hecht,
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
July 27, 2004 -- A gene that determines the susceptibility to lung cancer has
been localized to chromosome 6. This is the first
major success in mapping the
genetic vulnerability to lung cancer.
Lung cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States and many other
countries. The risk is greatly increased by cigarette smoking and certain
environmental exposures but genetic factors also clearly play a major role.
A report just posted online in the American Journal of Human Genetics outlines the
discovery. A study was done of families with 3 or more first-degree relatives
who had lung, throat, or laryngeal cancer with a special focus on
those families that had affected relatives in at least 2 generations.
A battery of almost 400 genetic markers were examined in
all available family
members. The markers were DNA sequences known to be polymorphic, often variable.
The lung cancer susceptibility gene was found linked to a genetic marker on chromosome 6 with a high
degree of certainty. The genetic marker is on the long (q) arm of chromosome 6.