In one of the largest genome-wide association studies, a consortium of researchers found that "never-smoking" Asian females from three different regions were associated with an increased risk of lung cancer based on their genetic profiles, not environmental factors.
They found variations in three locations on the genome. Two on chromosome 6 and one on chromosome 10, a variation not noted in previous genome-wide association studies of white or Asian populations with lung cancer.
Another interesting find was a variation not found at chromosome 15, which has been seen in genome-wide association studies of smokers, suggesting this variation may be smoking-related.
"This study is an example of how genome-wide association susceptibility studies can evaluate inherited genetic risk in populations with unique characteristics or environmental exposures," Stephen J. Chanock, M.D., acting co-director of NCI's Center for Cancer Genomics and a co-author of the study, told ScienceDaily.
"We will continue to develop better, smarter applications of this technique and apply them to populations where we have detailed information on environmental factors to further our understanding of how inherited genetic factors modify risk from environmental exposures."
I found this study and its findings very interesting because our society emphasizes environmental exposure and behavioral choices as the main risk factors to cancer. Unless it's breast, when it comes to cancer, we look to outside influences as the cause. Do you agree?
Has anyone in the community had experience with a GWAS? Do you think there is value in studying groups like this? How do you think treatment will be affected by the combination of genetic factors and environmental exposure?