Genetics of small cell lung cancer

Published by Luke Morais on

Genetics of small cell lung cancer



What is small cell lung cancer?

Small cell lung cancer is a rare fast-growing lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer can affect anyone, but it typically affects people who have a long history of smoking tobacco products. Small cell lung cancer represents about 15% of all lung cancer diagnoses. It’s less common than non-small cell lung cancer. Healthcare providers can cure some people if the disease is found early. For others, they can help them live longer.


What is DNA methylation?

Cancer risks can be linked to which genes are used and when. DNA methylation is one way genes are controlled without changing the DNA code directly. It is a way that genes are turned on and off naturally throughout life. Different things in the environment can change methylation patterns and result in genes getting used too much or too little. Many exposures to smoke may be linked to disease-causing changes to methylation patterns.

How was the research done?

The study team focuses on small cell lung cancer because of the unique sensitivity to smoking associated with this cancer. They want to test their ideas and gather more data related to methylation patterns and smoking. They are conducting a small BioVU study on methylation patterns of smokers who developed small cell lung cancer.


What is the significance of this study?

Methylation signatures can give researchers important information about a person’s risk of getting diseases. By understanding this, they may be able to predict who is at risk of getting diseases like lung cancer.