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Lung cancer risk greater for relatives

Posted - Dec. 21, 2004 at 3:20 p.m.



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REYKJAVIK, Iceland, Dec 21, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Close relatives of lung cancer patients have a 2 to 3.5 times greater risk of getting lung cancer than the general population, an Icelandic study found.

Dr. Steinn Jonsson, of the Landspitali-University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland, examined the risks for developing lung cancer for first-, second-, and third-degree relatives of patients with lung cancer by linking records from the Icelandic Cancer Registry of all 2,756 patients diagnosed with lung cancer in Iceland from Jan. 1, 1955, to Feb. 28, 2002.

The risk ratio increase in first-degree relatives of patients with lung carcinoma is the result of a combination of environmental, genetic factors, or both. However, the study demonstrated that familial factor extends beyond the nuclear family to more distant relationships like cousins, according to Jonsson.

The results support a role for genetics in the risk of lung carcinoma, but it should be emphasized that tobacco smoke plays a dominant role in the pathogenesis of this disease, even among those individuals who are genetically predisposed to lung carcinoma, the authors concluded in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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