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In Some, Genes Elevate Cancer Risk Even with Modest Exposure to Cigarette Smoke

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Individuals with a certain genetic predisposition to lung cancer should avoid cigarette smoke altogether or risk developing the disease, researchers say.

A new study from the University of Cincinnati (UC) found that smokers with a specific genetic vulnerability had an equal risk of getting lung cancer whether they smoked heavily or were only light smokers. They also found that genetically susceptible individuals could get lung cancer even if they were nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke.

“The study shows a strong gene-environment interaction between a region of chromosome 6q and smoking,” said UC researcher Marshall Anderson, Ph.D. “People with this susceptibility locus can develop lung cancer even with a very little bit of smoking.”

“If you have a family history of lung cancer, you probably should not even be around cigarette smokers,” added Anderson.

The study was published in the journal Cancer Research

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