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Why doesn’t excessive smoking always lead to lung cancer?

Cigarette smoking is the main cause of lung cancer. However, not all heavy smokers develop cancer. why ? A recent study published in nature genetics, suggests that the explanation lies in the DNA of the cells that line the lungs. In fact, in some heavy smokers, these cells are less likely to develop mutations and turn into tumors. explanations.

Lung cancer in France

According to Santé Publique France, lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men (after prostate cancer). However, it has the highest mortality rate among all types of cancer. In women, it is the third leading cause of cancer (after breast cancer and colorectal cancer). But it is the second leading cause of death from cancer (after breast cancer).

Reality to smoke Cigarettes are the main cause of Lung Cancer. In fact, studies estimate that 90% of deaths from lung cancer are related to tobacco consumption. However, not all heavy smokers develop lung cancer. How do we explain it?

DNA repair may reduce cancer risk

For years, scientists have wondered why some heavy smokers develop lung tumors and others do not. A recent study published in nature geneticssheds new light on this contrast.

The scientists took bronchial samples from 33 participants. They range in age from 11 to 86 and are non-smokers (14) and smokers (19 of whom are occasional smokers and heavy smokers). By “heavy smokers,” the authors refer to people who smoke at least one pack of cigarettes a day. The researchers created the genetic profile of the cells that line the participants’ lungs. In fact, these cells survive for years, even decades, by accumulating age-related mutations and/or exposure to tobacco smoke. Among other cell types, they are at a higher risk of developing cancer.

The study showed that the rate of mutation of cells lining the lungs increases with age in non-smokers. Also, this rate increases significantly among people who smoke. However, after 23 years of smoking one pack a day, this risk appears to be regressing. Thus, among the study participants, the heaviest tobacco users did not necessarily have the highest mutation rate. These data suggest that people who survive long-term heavy smoking may have a genetic advantage. It will be successful in suppressing the accumulation of cellular mutations. This would induce stabilizing mutations due to better removal of toxins from cigarette smoke in the lungs or a more efficient DNA repair system.

#Viesanstabac, quitting smoking is the best solution against lung cancer, but not only!

For the authors of this study, these conclusions will make it possible to develop new screening tests for Lung Cancer. Indeed, measuring the ability of cells lining the lungs to repair DNA damaged by smoke would be a reliable indicator of lung cancer risk assessment.

However it cannot be denied that the best protection against Lung Cancer Not for to smoke or stop. mark Tobacco-free day To be held on May 31, 2022, all health authorities and associations are mobilized to remind people how and why to quit smoking. The Tobacco Information Service website refers to an information and aid device to quit smoking.

In fact, if tobacco is often associated with an increased risk of lung cancer, it is also a risk factor for many diseases:

  • Cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
  • respiratory fragility and a high risk of developing COPD;
  • high risk of infection acutely from Covid-19;
  • an increase in asthma;

Alexia F. Doctor of Neuroscience


Single-cell analysis of somatic mutations in bronchial epithelial cells in relation to aging and smoking. Accessed May 30, 2022.

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