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New Nature paper examines how air pollution can cause lung cancer

A new study carried out by Cancer Research UK-funded researchers at the Francis Crick Institute and UCL has revealed how air pollution can cause lung cancer in people who have never smoked. The study, published in Nature next week, helps us to understand how pollution interacts with lung cells to initiate and propagate the changes that eventually result in cancer.

The study is part of a £14 million series of studies funded by Cancer Research UK to try to understand the mechanisms by which air pollution may induce lung cancer, in order to find ways to prevent the development of disease in exposed individuals.

The research, led by Professor Charles Swanton, examined data from over 400,000 people and looked at whether rates of lung cancer were higher in areas with high levels of fine particulate matter (called PM2.5).

Please note, there was some media coverage of elements of this research when it was presented at the ESMO conference in September 2022. However, this research is more extensive than that presented at the conference, with additional experiments, data and analysis, and has now been fully peer-reviewed.


Speakers included:

Professor Charles Swanton, lead investigator for the TRACERx Lung study at the Francis Crick Institute, and Chief Clinician for Cancer Research UK

Dr William Hill, co-first author and postdoctoral researcher at Francis Crick Institute

Dr Emilia Lim, co-first author and postdoctoral researcher at Francis Crick Institute and University College London


This Briefing was accompanied by an SMC Roundup of Comments.

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