study published by Nature Genetics found that some cigarette smokers may
have genes that protect them from the genetic mutations that cause lung cancer.
Through analysis of the cells lining the lungs of both smokers and non-smokers,
both with and without lung cancer, researchers found that smokers had more of
the genetic mutations that cause lung cancer even if they do not develop the
disease. “However, while the number of genetic mutations detected in lung cells
increased in parallel with the amount and length of time people smoked, this
increase stopped at a certain point -- 23 "pack-years," which equates
to smoking one pack per day of cigarettes for 23 years, the researchers said. This
suggests that some long-time, heavy smokers are able to "suppress further
mutation accumulation" because they have "proficient systems for
repairing DNA damage or detoxifying cigarette smoke…” (Dunlevy, 2022). For this
study, researchers used a technology called single-cell multiple displacement
amplification that allows for genetic analysis of individual cells.
This is only a preliminary finding and many more larger
studies need to be conducted in order to arrive at a solid conclusion. For this
study, scientists say this mutation may be due to a change in ones own genetic
makeup or something that becomes inherited. Scientists also warn that their findings
do not give the green light on smoking and still stress that risks for developing
cancers and other health complications are still possible. Nearly 240,000
people in the United States will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year, about
80% of them smokers, 13% are considered to be active smokers, the American
Cancer Society estimates.
This type of study may help healthcare professionals and
scientists treat and improve future diagnoses of lung cancers, but it is still
too early to determine if it can work out.
from Science Daily goes into further detail on this topic.