Inflammation Plays Role In Determining Lung Cancer

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Researchers at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit today presented findings that support the role of inflammation in determining lung cancer risk, particularly among African-American women.

The abstract titled, Cytokine SNPs Differentially Predict Risk of Non Small Cell Lung Cancer in African American and Caucasian Women, was given at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

The study's goal was to determine whether variation in genes in the inflammatory pathway contribute to the risk of non-small cell lung cancer, and whether there are differences by race, according to Karmanos Principal Investigator Alison L. Van Dyke, MD/PhD Candidate, Class of 2011. Genetic variation was evaluated by looking at single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in cytokine genes.

Population-based cases included 95 African-American and 365 Caucasian women, aged 18-74. Each had been diagnosed with primary non-small cell lung cancer in metropolitan Detroit during a four year period. 483 controls were frequency matched to cases based on age and race. Analyses were performed separately for African-American and Caucasian women, and adjustments were made for factors such as body mass index, age and education, smoking history, family history of lung cancer and history of chronic lung disease.

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"Our findings show that there is a 2.2 fold increased risk for African-American women to develop lung cancer if carrying a particular SNP in IL10 as compared to African-American women who do not," said Karmanos Associate Center Director of Population Sciences Ann Schwartz, Ph. D., M.P.H. She added that there was a decreased risk for lung cancer among Caucasian women with this polymorphism. A nearby SNP on the IL10 gene was also associated with an increased risk of lung cancer among African-American women but a decreased risk among Caucasian women.

"These results suggest racial differences in the relationship between cytokine SNPs and risk of lung cancer, but larger studies need to be conducted in diverse populations to confirm these findings," said Dr. Schwartz.

According to Van Dyke, this type of information might be used to better predict who to screen for lung cancer for earlier disease detection and may lead to more targeted treatments.

"It is important that we identify disease markers for lung cancer," she said. "If diagnosed at a localized stage, the overall five-year survival rate is approximately 50 percent, yet when lung cancer is diagnosed a distant stage of disease, the five-year survival rate is only two percent."

Dr. Schwartz added, "Lung cancer remains the number one cancer killer among men and women in the United States. "If we can better predict who is at risk and then diagnose disease earlier, rates of survival will improve dramatically."

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