Health April 5, 2023 | 1:46 pm

A Study Reveals How Fine Particle Air Pollution Can Promote Specific Genetic Mutations in Lung Cancer

According to a study published in the journal Nature, fine particle air pollution can contribute to the proliferation of specific genetic mutations in lung cancer, leading to a more severe tumor progression. Researchers from the Francis Crick Institute in London conducted an epidemiological study using data from 32,957 individuals to explore the correlation between air pollution and lung cancer. The team also utilized mouse models to determine the underlying cellular processes. The term PM is used to describe a mixture of small solid and liquid particles found in the air, and fine particles such as PM2.5 and PM0.1 are the most concerning regarding their harmful effects on health.

Exposure to pollution is associated with an increased incidence of lung cancer, and the fine particles, particularly PM2.5, can penetrate deep into the lungs. The team investigated the correlation between PM2.5 exposure and the frequency of lung cancer in 32,957 individuals with an EGFR gene mutation from four countries. They found that increasing levels of PM2.5 were associated with a higher incidence of EGFR-mutant lung cancer. Exposure to high levels of pollution for three years was sufficient to trigger cancer development. The researchers used mouse models to explore the cellular processes involved.

They found that PM2.5 appears to trigger the release of immune cells and pro-inflammatory signaling molecules in lung cells, exacerbating inflammation and promoting tumor progression in EGFR and KRAS cancer models. Blocking the pro-inflammatory signaling molecule was found to prevent EGFR-driven cancer development. The study suggests that PM2.5 could act as a tumor promoter, exacerbating existing cancer mutations. Understanding this relationship could help prevent cancer and emphasize the need to address air quality as a public health priority.



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