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Home Industry News Smokers’ cancer risk ‘can be predicted by DNA changes’

Smokers’ cancer risk ‘can be predicted by DNA changes’

6th November 2012

A UK study has revealed that smoking can alter a person's DNA in a way that could be used as a potential risk indicator for cancer.

Scientists at Imperial College London and Italy's Human Genetics Foundation have isolated a number of sites in the DNA of blood that undergo epigenetic modification among those with smoking habits.

These DNA tags are also detectable in lung tissue and form a clear genetic picture of a person's addictive habits that is far more reliable than questionnaires completed by the patient.

Researchers can now cross-reference this data against genetic information pertaining to a number of associated cancers, while it is hoped that other factors such as alcohol dependence can also be measured in this way.

Dr Jane Cope, director of the National Cancer Research Institute, said: "This is a very interesting piece of research that applies basic biology to everyday life to reveal just how much damage smoking can do to the fundamental biology of a person."

Data from Cancer Research UK shows that smoking directly causes one-quarter of cancer deaths in the UK, including nine out of ten lung cancer cases.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-801483140-ADNFCR

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