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Gene variant related to greater difficulty in quitting smoking and earlier lung cancer diagnosis

Science Spotlight

April 15, 2015

Blue smoke

People with a specific form of the CHRNA5 gene take an average of four years longer to quit smoking and are at greater risk for developing lung cancer four years earlier, compared to smokers without this gene variant. This is according to a meta-analysis of 24 studies examining variants in the CHRNA5 gene within participants of European ancestry. By some measures, approximately 18% of people with this ancestry carry the high-risk variant.

Although past analyses have shown a relationship between this gene variant and heavy smoking, this is the first meta-analysis to clarify the role of CHRNA5 variations in smoking cessation. This genetic marker may help improve early lung cancer detection in a high-risk population.

This analysis was funded by various NIH Institutes, including NIDA. For a copy of the article, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, go to: http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/107/5/djv100.full?sid=5170a62f-6259-48d0-a6b7-78dae2f03266

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245.

NIDA Press Office

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found at www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email requests to drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/dear-journalist, and its easy-to-read website can be found at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov. You can follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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    NIDA. (2015, April 15). Gene variant related to greater difficulty in quitting smoking and earlier lung cancer diagnosis. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2015/04/gene-variant-related-to-greater-difficulty-in-quitting-smoking-earlier-lung-cancer-diagnosis

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