However, despite taking the antibiotics, she continued to cough, and in fact started feeling slight breathlessness when walking or exercising. She had no reason to suspect she had lung cancer. After all, the year-old was medically fit and had no family history of cancer. She worked in a primary school, never smoked, and neither did anyone in her family, so she had no exposure to second-hand smoke either. Subsequently, a CT scan was done at a hospital and it picked up not only bilateral lung masses but also enlarged lymph nodes and fluid in her lungs. A bronchoscopy and lung biopsy confirmed that she had Stage 4 lung cancer and that the cancer had spread to both lungs, the lining pleura of her lungs, and her lymph nodes.
Lung cancer treatments vary among the Asian communities | EurekAlert! Science News
Sunday, November 11, An international group of scientists has identified three genetic regions that predispose Asian women who have never smoked to lung cancer. The finding provides further evidence that risk of lung cancer among never-smokers, especially Asian women, may be associated with certain unique inherited genetic characteristics that distinguishes it from lung cancer in smokers. Lung cancer in never-smokers is the seventh leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, and the majority of lung cancers diagnosed historically among women in Eastern Asia have been in women who never smoked. The specific genetic variations found in this study had not been associated with lung cancer risk in other populations.
Lung cancer in never smokers—the East Asian experience
Approximately one third of all lung cancer patients in East Asia are never-smokers. Never-smokers are more often diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in East Asia, a subtype largely defined by oncogenic drivers. Therefore, better understanding of the biologic characteristics of these subtypes of patients may provide new insights for the treatment.
The aim of this study was to determine the distribution of known oncogenic driver mutations in female never-smoker Asian patients with lung adenocarcinoma. Mucinous adenocarcinomas tended to have a lower frequency of known driver gene mutations than other histologic subtypes. EGFR mutation was associated with older age and a predominantly acinar pattern, while ALK rearrangement was associated with younger age and a predominantly solid pattern. Lung cancer in never-smoker Asian females is a distinct entity, with the majority of these cancers developing from oncogenic mutations.