Lung Cancer Patients Who Never Smoked Invited to Study


Approximately 10 percent of people who have lung cancer never smoked, and the mystery is why these individuals - mostly women - develop this disease. A new Web-based clinical trial run by researchers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center is inviting people who have lung cancer and who never smoked to help them find the answer.

Smoking tobacco products is the overwhelming risk factor for lung cancer, yet according to the National Cancer Institute, about 10 percent of the more than 219,000 people diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States every year never smoked. One theory is that there may be a genetic reason behind why never smokers develop the disease.


William Pao, MD, PhD, assistant director of Personalized Cancer Medicine at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, and his colleagues are looking for individuals who have lung cancer and who never smoked who are willing to submit blood samples for DNA analysis. The investigators plan to collect 2,000 DNA samples from people who enroll in the online study, which is believed to be the first of its kind.

To see if they qualify, never smokers with lung cancer can visit the study’s Web site and complete a simple electronic questionnaire. Individuals who are eligible will receive two empty blood vials, which they can take to their doctor or to a local laboratory for a blood draw. People who cannot get blood samples can opt to provide saliva samples. Participants will then ship the vials to the study facility in prepaid packaging. All samples are de-identified once they are entered into the Vanderbilt-Ingram DNA databank to ensure patient privacy. Participants are not responsible for any costs related to the study.

Eligibility requirements for the lung cancer study include age 18 or older, have nonsmall cell lung cancer, be a never smoker (having smoked less than 100 cigarettes during their lifetime), live in the United States, and have no previously diagnosed invasive cancers. People who have lung cancer and who fit the above requirements are invited to visit the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center website for more information and to access the online survey.

Materials from the National Cancer Institute and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center are used int his report.