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Lung Cancer Evolution Is Influenced By Patients’ Smoking History

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Lung Cancer Evolution Is Influenced By Patients' Smoking History

(CTN News) – It may be possible to develop new treatments for lung cancer by understanding the differences in lung cancer development between smokers and non-smokers.

WEHI (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research) researchers in Melbourne, Australia, examined lung cancer progression in smokers and non-smokers, and found substantial differences in how the body reacts to tobacco use.

Using this study, we can better understand why immunotherapy does not always work in treating cancer.

It is estimated that 13,000 Australians are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, and 10% of men and 35% of women do not have a history of smoking.

Asselin-Labat and Gray were the principal investigators of the new research at WEHI. A number of institutions participated in the study, including WEHI, the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the University of Melbourne, Austin Health, and the Francis Crick Institute.

Asselin-Labat suggests that there might be differences in the immune reactions between smokers and non-smokers, as a result of which only 20% of lung cancer patients respond to immunotherapy treatment.

According to her, “it shows that smokers and non-smokers with lung cancer need to be treated differently.”

According to Dr. Krasnow, “To ensure the effectiveness of immunotherapy in smokers, the tumors must be made visible to the immune system, while in non-smokers, the dormant immune system must be activated.”

During his remarks, Professor Gray highlighted the fact that the research teams had produced interesting findings regarding the environment in which tumors grow and the differences between smokers and non-smokers in the progression of the disease.

He explained that smokers’ lungs have a very different inflammatory environment than those of non-smokers.

There are certain subsets of T cells, called TRM, that are highly enriched in smokers. These cells exert pressure on the tumor to evade the immune response of the body.

The effectiveness of immunotherapy against tumors that acquire this property is reduced.”

Identifying new treatment targets for lung cancer

Currently, researchers are exploring ways of increasing the visibility of tumor cells to the immune system in lung cancer patients who smoke.

“We are using genomic screening to identify epigenetic silencing that might occur so that we can then focus our efforts on those targets,” Professor Asselin-Labat explained.

This is the first step in developing precision, tailored treatments for specific patients based on their smoking history.

Dr. Clare Weeden, another member of the study’s lead team, said lung cancer did not only affect smokers, and it was important to understand the differences in tumor evolution in order to improve treatment.

The research we have conducted demonstrates the importance of the environment that a tumor develops in. By understanding the nature of the pre-existing tissue, we can better understand how tumors evolve and develop personalized therapies based on the smoking history of individuals.


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Salman Ahmad is a seasoned writer for CTN News, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the platform. With a knack for concise yet impactful storytelling, he crafts articles that captivate readers and provide valuable insights. Ahmad's writing style strikes a balance between casual and professional, making complex topics accessible without compromising depth.

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