Lung cancer



A few links worth checking:

  1. “Smoking kills” - a white paper on tobacco

  2. Cigarette smoking - a modern epidemic, a paediatric disease

Cigarette smoke contains at least 40 known carcinogens. It is thought that the major carcinogen is 3,4 benzpyrine which induces changes in the short arm of chromosome 3 found in 50% of NSCLC and 100% of SCLC. It is suggested that there is a tumour supressor gene in the 3p chromosomal region. Other common genetic changes found in lung cancer include mutations of the tumour suppressor gene p53 and over-expression of the tumour promoters K-ras (present in 33% of adenocarcinomas in smokers and suggested to be associated with poor prognosis), c-myc, bcl-2 and c-erb B-2 (also known as the Her2/neu gene).

An excellent full review of the molecular pathogenesis of lung cancer is available on

Lung cancer is mainly a disease of cigarette smokers. Though there are a number of other recognised causes, the number of cases of lung cancer wholly due to other carcinogens is uncommon. While asbestos can cause carcinoma of the upper aero-digestive tract in non smokers, the combination of cigarette smoke and asbestos fibres is particularly carcinogenic with the risks multiplied rather than being additive.

Environmental factors associated with lung cancer

  1. Active smoking of tobacco

  2. Passive smoking

  3. Urban pollution

  4. Uranium mining

  5. Asbestos exposure

  6. Arsenic

  7. Chromates

  8. Nickel

  9. Radon Gas

  10. Lung fibrosis (including “scar” carcinoma)