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ESMO MAP 2022 | Air pollution induced non-small cell lung cancer

Emilia Lim, PhD, UCL, London, UK, discusses an investigation into air pollution induced non-small cell lung cancer, revealing possible methods of cancer prevention. At least 15% of cases of lung cancers occur in never-smokers. Instead of inducing a multitude of mutations leading to cancer it was hypothesized that air pollution may act on pre-existing mutations in nascent clones. The hypothesis was tested through a series of comprehensive human and animal experiments. Mice with KRAS and EGFR mutations were exposed to air pollution, which demonstrated an increase in tumors and tumor size in a dose-dependent manner. Additionally, pre-existing mutations were found in 16-19% of healthy human lung tissue samples investigated. The number of mutations found in lung tissue samples were positively correlated with age, suggesting mutations are a natural process of aging, as opposed to a carcinogen. This interview took place at the Molecular Analysis for Precision oncology (MAP) Congress 2022 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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