Why Non-Smokers Get Sick Too – The Practice of Healing

Why Non-Smokers Get Sick Too – The Practice of Healing

Why polluted air can cause lung cancer

smoking It is known to be the largest by far risk factor to create Lung Cancer. But even people who have never smoked and are rarely exposed to secondhand smoke can develop lung cancer – in many cases from air pollution. The research team figured out how to do it for the first time Air pollutants cause lung cancer ability.

looking for Francis Crick Institutesubordinate University College London as well as from Cancer Research UK You have a conference European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) presented a recent paper, describing for the first time the mechanism air pollutants The Lung cancer risk upload.

Lung cancer from air pollution

According to the working group, about 250,000 people Lung cancer caused by air pollution rather than smoking. Now, for the first time, a research group has been able to explain how to do this small polluting particles In the air it can cause lung cancer in non-smokers.

Responsible pollutant particles usually overcome Vehicle exhaust as well as about fossil fuel combustion Up in the air.

“The same airborne particles that come from burning fossil fuels and exacerbate climate change directly affect human health through an important carcinogenic mechanism in lung cells that was previously overlooked.”mentioned Charles Swanton vom Francis Crick Institute.

We have no control over what we breathe

“The risk of lung cancer is lower from air pollution from smoking, but we don’t have control over what we all breathe”Swanton points out

Because while people are largely free to decide whether or not they want to inhale cigarette smoke, many people around the world are exposed to poor air quality without being able to escape it.

Air pollutants cause mutations in the lungs

As part of the study, researchers were able for the first time to prove that fine particles 2.5 microns in diameter with increased risk of infection Mutations in the lungs In the genes EGFR and KRAS.

Using data from nearly half a million people from England, South Korea and Taiwan, the scientists were able to establish that the risk of EGFR and KRAS mutations With increasing particle concentration increases in the air.

In lab tests, the working group has also been able to document those typical air pollutant particles Rapid changes in airway cells that cause mutations in the EGFR and KRAS genes. These mutations are Lung cancer causes.

The risk of lung cancer also increases with age

“We found that driving mutations in the EGFR and KRAS genes, common in lung cancer, are also present in normal lung tissue and are likely a consequence of aging.”Swanton adds.

In laboratory tests, the age-related mutations The risk of lung cancer increases only slightly. However, if exposure to air pollutants is added, the risk of lung cancer increases significantly.

Not every mutant cell turns into a cancerous cell

However, it is still not clear why lung cells mutate in some people cancer cells Develop and others do not. The team wants to clarify this in another study. (FP)

Author and source information

This text conforms to specifications in the medical literature, clinical guidelines and current studies and has been examined by medical professionals.


Graduate Editor (FH) Volker Plasek


  • ESMO: Scientists have discovered how air pollution can lead to lung cancer in non-smokers (veröffentlicht:, esmo.org

important note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.


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