An international genome research study has found some genetic characteristics that could account for lung cancer incidence among Asian women who have never smoked, shedding light on the question of why lung cancer is the main cause of death among Taiwanese women, even though most of them do not smoke, a researcher who took part in the study said yesterday.
Hsiung Chao (熊昭), head of the Institute of Population Health Sciences at the National Health Research Institutes, said that the research conducted by scientists from Taiwan, the US, China, Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands identified lung cancer susceptibility among Asian women who have never smoked.
The scientists found connections between lung cancer susceptibility and genetic characteristics that are different from those that would raise lung cancer risks among smokers, Hsiung said.
The research on the links between genetic and environmental factors and lung cancer in non-smokers was performed through a multistage genome-wide association study of lung cancer in Asian women who have never smoked.
Researchers scanned 5,510 lung cancer cases of women who had never smoked and 4,544 controls drawn from 14 studies in China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The results were published in the influential Nature Genetics journal this month.
Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池), president of National Taiwan University’s College of Medicine, who was one of the members of the research team, said that in Taiwan, 90 percent of female patients suffering from lung adenocarcinoma did not smoke.
In the research, they found five lung susceptibility loci in women’s genomes, he said.
With the findings, physicians can locate people at the highest risk of lung cancer through gene-screening blood tests, Yang said.