KOMPAS.com – Tobacco smoke is often associated as a trigger for DNA damage in the lungs.
This causes smoking to be the number one risk factor for smokers to develop lung cancer.
While the number of cigarettes smoked a person was associated with an increase in cancer-causing cell mutations, after the equivalent of about 23 years of smoking one pack a day.
Without a doubt, the safest way to protect yourself from lung cancer is to avoid smoking.
But at the same time, it turns out that not all smokers who smoke in their lifetime are destined to get cancer.
This also makes many parties, including scientists, wonder why it is like that.
A new study finds that genetics has a role in keeping these smokers from getting cancer.
These results were obtained after researchers conducted a study using genetic profiles taken from the bronchi of 14 smokers who had never smoked and 19 light, moderate, and heavy smokers.
Also read: Do Smokers’ Lungs Return To Normal After Quitting Smoking?
Surface cells collected from the study participants’ lungs were then sequenced individually to measure mutations in their genomes.
Quoted from Science Alert, Thursday (26/5/2022); among smokers who never had lung cancer, the researchers found an inherent advantage.
The cells lining their lungs seemed less likely to mutate over time.
The findings also suggest that DNA repair genes are more active among some individuals, which may protect against cancer, even when cigarettes are smoked regularly.
Whereas mutations in the lungs increase with age. And among the group of smokers, the DNA damage was even more significant.
“Our data suggest that these individuals may survive longer even if they are heavy smokers because they suppress further mutation accumulation,” said epidemiologist and pulmonary epidemiologist Simon Spivack of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
The decrease in this mutation, according to the researchers, is because these people have highly adept systems for repairing DNA damage or detoxifying cigarette smoke.
“These lung cells persist for years, even decades, and thus can accumulate mutations with age and smoking. Of all the lung cell types, these are the most likely to become cancerous,” Spivack explains.
Also read: Why Are There Lifetime Smokers Who Don’t Get Lung Cancer?
Whether a cell mutation develops into a tumor or not depends on how well the body can repair DNA or reduce DNA damage.
While genes related to DNA repair can be inherited or acquired.
The findings could also help explain why 80 to 90 percent of lifetime smokers never develop lung cancer.
It could also help explain why some people who have never smoked at all develop cancer.
“We now want to develop a new test that can measure a person’s capacity for DNA repair or detoxification that could offer a new way to assess a person’s risk of developing lung cancer,” said geneticist Jan Vijg.
Even so genes are not the only factor that affects a person’s cancer risk. Environmental factors such as diet can also affect nutrients in the body that have an impact on tumor development.
The study was published in Nature.
(Source: Kompas.com Science Contributor Writer, Monika Novena | Editor Shierine Wangsa Wibawa)
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