Women Smokers at Risk   

Women Smokers at Risk

Women smokers are three times more likely than men to get a genetic mutation linked to the worst cases of cancer. So said a report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Some 10 per cent of lung cancer victims have this mutation, known as K-ras, which makes them four times more likely to die than other lung cancer victims. Researchers suspect that the mutation is triggered by the female hormone, oestrogen.

Another study, also reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, reports that a gene called GRPR, which is more active in women than men, could be the reason why women are more prone to lung cancer than men. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in the US, involved tests on the lung tissue from 78 adults (38 women and 40 men); 58 of the test subjects had been diagnosed with lung cancer. It was found that the "gastrin-releasing peptide receptor" (GRPR) gene, which has been linked in previous studies with lung cancer, was active in 55% of the non-smoking women, but none of the non-smoking men showed any signs. At the same time, 75% of the female smokers showed evidence of activated GRPR (compared to just 20% of smoking men).

The GRPR gene is carried on the female chromosome and women have two of them while men only have one. It is postulated that nicotine activates the GRPR gene, placing female smokers even more at risk.


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