Variations at three locations in the genome in Asian female never-smokers were associated with lung cancer, according to an international group of scientists.
For the study, researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, partnered with researchers from several other countries to create the Female Lung Cancer Consortium in Asia. The team used genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that combined data from 14 studies that included a total of approximately 14,000 Asian women (6,600 with lung cancer and 7,500 without lung cancer).
“This study is the first large-scale genome-wide association study of lung cancer among never-smoking females anywhere in the world,” said Qing Lan, MD, PhD, a senior investigator in NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and the leader of the study.
They found a link between variations at three locations, two on chromosome 6 and one on chromosome 10, in the genome and lung cancer in Asian female never-smokers. According to investigators, the discovery on chromosome 10 was particularly significant because it has not been found in any other GWAS of lung cancer in white or Asian populations.
The researchers did not detect an association with variations at a location on chromosome 15 that has been associated with lung cancer risk in many previous GWAS of lung cancer in smokers. The absence of this association provides further support for the suggestion that the genetic variation on chromosome 15 may be smoking-related.
“This study is an example of how genome-wide association susceptibility studies can evaluate inherited genetic risk in populations with unique characteristics or environmental exposures,” said Stephen J. Chanock, MD, acting co-director of NCI’s Center for Cancer Genomics and a co-author of the study. “We will continue to develop better, smarter applications of this technique and apply them to populations where we have detailed information on environmental factors to further our understanding of how inherited genetic factors modify risk from environmental exposures.”