"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”
A study looking at ways to diagnose lung cancer earlier (Study 1a and Study 2)
These two studies were done to find out more about who may be at higher risk of developing lung cancer. Study 1a and Study 2 were very similar, so the research team looked at the results of them together.
The studies were open for people to join between 2013 and 2018. The team reported the results 2021.
More about this trial
When these studies were done, we already knew that smoking plays a big part in the development of various lung diseases. But researchers wanted to find out more about why some people who smoke get lung cancer and others don’t.
Differences in our genes may affect how cells in the airways react to substances in cigarette smoke. In these studies, the researchers wanted to find out if different cells in the airways react to cigarette smoke in the same way or different ways.
They looked at one or more of these from each person:
- cells that line the airways
- cells that line the nose
- cells in the blood
They looked at cells from people who:
- were smoking at the time
- used to smoke
- had never smoked
- had been diagnosed with lung cancer
- hadn’t been diagnosed lung cancer
Summary of results
The research team took various cell samples from some people who had lung cancer and some who didn’t. They:
- took cell samples from the airways during a bronchoscopy test
- used a small plastic instrument (a curette) to gently remove some of the cells from the lining of the nose (nasal cells)
- took blood samples
The research team looked at cell samples from a total of 487 people:
- 301 people with lung cancer
- 72 people with a non cancerous lung condition
- 114 people who didn’t have lung cancer or another lung condition
They took a total of 649 cell samples from the nose and airway, and 467 blood samples. They looked for genetic changes in these cells. They compared the results of people with lung cancer to those without. And people who have ever smoked to those who have not.
The results showed that there were differences in the nasal cells of people who have a lung condition compared to those who don’t. This could be lung cancer or another lung condition. This was regardless of whether they were smokers or not.
The results also showed that people who smoke have changes to their
The research team plan to use analysis of nasal cells to develop a tool to assess an individual’s risk of lung cancer. They hope this will help identify those who are at highest risk of lung cancer. And reduce the number of people who are diagnosed with lung cancer in the future.
More detailed information
There is more information about this research in the reference below.
Please note, the article we link to here is not in plain English. It has been written for healthcare professionals and researchers.
Smoking-dependent expression alterations in nasal epithelium reveal immune impairment linked to germline variation and lung cancer risk
Maria Stella de Biase and others
MedRxiv. Published online 2021.
Where this information comes from
We have based this summary on the information in the article above. As far as we are aware, it has not been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Robert Rintoul
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust