Health Library

Health Library

The Genetics of Lung Cancer

The majority of lung cancer deaths (about 80%) are due to cigarette smoking. A number of diverse genetic abnormalities have been identified in lung cancer cells. Some of these genetic abnormalities may be causal (for example, responsible for initiating the development of cancer), while others may instead indicate the progression of the cancer.

Not everyone who smokes will develop lung cancer. Studies have identified that normal genetic variations — polymorphisms — in the population may make some individuals more likely to develop lung cancer if they smoke than other smokers (without the polymorphism).

Genetic polymorphisms may also be important for nonsmokers, some of whom are still exposed to tobacco smoke at work or in the home. Certain genetic polymorphisms have been found to be associated with a greater risk of lung cancer development, even in a person who has never smoked. This may explain why relatives of people with lung cancer, regardless of whether they smoke or not, have an increased chance of developing lung cancer. Additional studies are needed to better understand these gene-environment interactions.

The Genetics of Lung Cancer - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Foster, Sara, RN, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
© 2014 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

I would like to:

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×