RATIONALE - Tobacco smoking is responsible for 85% of all lung cancers. To further our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of lung cancer, we determined whether smoking history leads to the emergence of specific genomic alterations found in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
OBJECTIVES - To identify gene copy number alterations in NSCLCs associated with smoking history or DNA repair capacity.
METHODS - Seventy-five NSCLCs were selected for this study from patients with current, none, or past smoking history, including pack year information. Tissue sections were microdissected, and DNA was extracted, purified, and labeled by random priming before hybridization onto bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) arrays. Normalized ratios were correlated with smoking history and DNA repair capacity was measured by an in vitro lymphocyte assay in the same patients.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS - We identified smoking-related genomic signatures in NSCLCs that could be predicted with an overall 74% accuracy. Lung tumors arising from current-smokers had the greatest number of copy number alterations. The genomic regions most significantly associated with smoking were located within 60 regions and were functionally associated with genes controlling the M phase of the cell cycle, the segregation of chromosomes, and the methylation of DNA. Verification of the data is provided from data in the public domain and by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. The associations between genomic abnormalities and DNA repair capacity did not reach statistical significance.
CONCLUSIONS - These findings indicate that smoking history leaves a specific genomic signature in the DNA of lung tumors and suggest that these alterations may reflect new molecular pathways to cancer development.