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The next goal for these lung cancer research scientists is to more closely examine this region of chromosome 6 with the aim of locating the exact gene or genes that cause lung cancer susceptibility. The identified region corresponds to roughly a 20 million base pair segment on the long arm of chromosome 6. The region contains numerous genes that are likely candidates for the susceptibility gene, including four suspected tumor suppressor genes.
Another interesting discovery the team made involved the effects of smoking on cancer risk for carriers and non-carriers of the predicted familial lung cancer gene. They found that in non-carriers, the more they smoked, the greater their risk of cancer. In carriers, on the other hand, any amount of smoking increased lung cancer risk. These findings suggest that smoking even a small amount can lead to cancer for individuals with inherited susceptibility.
The researchers also plan to continue screening additional families who could have familial lung cancer to confirm this particular susceptibility region, and perhaps find additional regions.