A group of international researchers have identified a mutation involved in a person’s susceptibility to lung cancer. The research consortium, led by Baylor College of Medicine (USA), Dartmouth College (USA), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (USA), and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (France), reports that this mutation could help to identify certain populations who are at greater risk of developing lung cancer. These findings were published today in the journal Nature Communications.
The combined efforts of the researchers identified a genetic variant that changes the protein sequence of the ATM gene, which is involved in the repair of DNA damage. The expansive nature of this study also enabled the researchers to consider how this variant influences risk across the histological subtypes of lung cancer. They found that tobacco smoking, which is the predominant cause of most lung cancers, may not be the only player with this ATM variant. However, the researchers stressed that even though these genetic variants may prove very useful in identifying those who are more susceptible to lung cancer, avoiding tobacco smoking at all levels is the best thing to do to avoid this devastating disease.
Ji X, Mukherjee S, Landi MT, Bosse Y, Joubert P, Zhu D, et al.
Protein-altering germline mutations implicate novel genes related to lung cancer development
Nat Commun, Published online 11 May 2020;