Smoking and lung cancer

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Nowadays, around one-third of adults are known to be smokers, and smoking rates are increasing among the female population. It is estimated that deaths attributable to tobacco use will rise to 10 million by 2025, and one-third of all adult deaths are expected to be related to cigarette smoking. The association between cigarettes and lung cancer has been proven by large cohort studies. Tobacco use has been reported to be the main cause of 90% of male and 79% of female lung cancers. 90% of deaths from lung cancer are estimated to be due to smoking. The risk of lung cancer development is 20-40 times higher in lifelong smokers compared to non-smokers. Environmental cigarette smoke exposure and different types of smoking have been shown to cause pulmonary carcinoma. DNA adducts, the metabolites of smoke carcinogens bound covalently with DNA, are regarded as an indicator of cancer risk in smokers. In recent decades, there has been a shift from squamous and small cell lung cancer types to adenocarcinoma, due to increasing rates of smoking among female population and rising light cigarette usage. After smoking cessation, the cumulative death risk from lung cancer decreases. Patients who continue smoking experience greater difficulties during cancer treatment. Stopping smoking may prolong survival in cancer patients, and also decreases the risk of recurrent pulmonary carcinoma. In order to save lives and prevent smoking related hazards, physicians should advise both healthy individuals and those with cancer of the benefits of stopping smoking.
Tüberküloz ve Toraks Dergisi 2005; 53(2): 200-209
Smoking and lung cancer
Tevfik ÖZLÜ, Yılmaz BÜLBÜL
Karadeniz Teknik Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi, Göğüs Hastalıkları Anabilim Dalı, Trabzon.
Sigara ve akciğer kanseri
Günümüzde erişkinlerin yaklaşık üçte birinin sigara içtiği ve kadın nüfusunda sigara içme oranının arttığı bilinmektedir.
Tütün kullanımıyla ilişkilendirilebilir ölümlerin 2025 yılında 10 milyona çıkacağı tahmin edilmektedir ve tüm erişkin ölüm-
lerinin üçte birinin sigara içmekten kaynaklanacağı öngörülmektir. Sigara ve akciğer kanseri arasındaki ilişki geniş kap-
samlı çalışmalarla ispatlanmıştır. Tütün kullanımı erkeklerin %90’ında, kadınların ise %79’unda akciğer kanserinin ana ne-
deni olarak bildirilmiştir. Akciğer kanserinden ölümlerin %90’ının sigara içmeyle ilişkisi olduğu tahmin edilmektedir. Siga-
ra içenlerde akciğer kanseri gelişme riski sigara içmeyenlerle karşılaştırıldığında 20-40 kat daha yüksektir. Çevresel sigara
içilmesine maruz kalma ve sigara içişinin farklı tipleri, akciğer kanserine sebep olarak gösterilmiştir. Son dekadlarda, ka-
dın popülasyonu arasında sigara içme oranlarının artması ve “light” sigara kullanımının artmasından dolayı skuamöz ve
küçük hücreli akciğer kanseri tipinden adenokarsinomaya bir değişme vardır. Sigarayı bıraktıktan sonra, akciğer kanse-
rinden kümülatif ölüm riski azalmaktadır. Sigara içmeye devam eden hastanın kanser tedavisinde daha büyük zorluklar
olmaktadır. Sigarayı bırakmak, kanserli hastalarda hayatta kalma süresini uzatabilir ve akciğer kanseri nüks riskini azal-
tabilir. Hekimler, güvenli yaşamak ve sigarayla ilişkili tehlikelerden korunmak için kanserli ve sağlıklı bireylerin hepsine
sigarayı bırakmayı tavsiye etmelidir.
Anahtar Kelimeler: Kanser, akciğer kanseri, sigara bırakma, sigara.
Smoking and lung cancer
Ozlu T, Bulbul Y
Department of Chest Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon, Turkey.
Nowadays, around one-third of adults are known to be smokers, and smoking rates are increasing among the female po-
pulation. It is estimated that deaths attributable to tobacco use will rise to 10 million by 2025, and one-third of all adult de-
aths are expected to be related to cigarette smoking. The association between cigarettes and lung cancer has been proven
by large cohort studies. Tobacco use has been reported to be the main cause of 90% of male and 79% of female lung can-
cers. 90% of deaths from lung cancer are estimated to be due to smoking. The risk of lung cancer development is 20-40 ti-
mes higher in lifelong smokers compared to non-smokers. Environmental cigarette smoke exposure and different types of
smoking have been shown to cause pulmonary carcinoma. DNA adducts, the metabolites of smoke carcinogens bound co-
Yazışma Adresi (Address for Correspondence):
Dr. Tevfik ÖZLÜ, Karadeniz Teknik Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi, Göğüs Hastalıkları Anabilim Dalı, TRABZON - TURKEY
The history of tobacco goes back more than
4000 years. It was used as a narcotic substance
by Native Americans. In 1493, it was brought
back to Europe by Christopher Columbus. To-
bacco growing soon started in Spain, and the
use of tobacco spread rapidly in Europe during
the 16th and 17th centuries. Annual consumpti-
on of tobacco in United States rose from 5 billi-
on in 1905 to 17 and 90 billion in 1915 and
1925, respectively.
As its harmful effects became understood, cam-
paigns against tobacco started during the
1950s. At the same time, cigarette companies
began to produce filter cigarettes in order to ne-
utralize the negative effects of those campaigns.
Light cigarettes containing low tar and nicotine
were put on the market during the 1970s, follo-
wing filter cigarettes.
Nowadays, one-third of adults (1.3 billion people)
are known to be smokers. While 25% of females
smoke, the level rises up to 50% among males
(1). Approximately 6 trillion cigarettes per year
are smoked worldwide, and the age at which pe-
ople take up smoking is decreasing all over the
world (1,2). Interestingly, 75% of smokers live in
poor countries. However, smokers enjoy low so-
cio-economic conditions whether they live in rich
or poor countries (3). While the number of ciga-
rettes consumed has declined in the United States
and in some European countries, such as Eng-
land and Finland, over the last 30 years, the trend
in China and in other Asian countries is rising.
Currently, half of the world’s cigarette production
is consumed in Asia. China is the largest consu-
mer of tobacco related products, and smoking re-
lated deaths are consequently most common the-
re. The number of smokers in China is about 320
million, and there was a 7.2% increase in tobacco
consumption from 1980 to 1990 (4). One inte-
resting statistic from China is that while two-thirds
of males smoke, smoking levels among females
are less than 5% (4).
Approximately 5 million people die from smo-
king related disorders each year, and one-tenth
of all adult deaths are related to tobacco use. It
is estimated that deaths attributable to tobacco
use will rise to 10 million by 2025, and one-third
of all adult deaths are expected to be related to
cigarette smoking (5). 50% of smokers die from
smoking related disorders (6). Smoking is
known to be the cause of some 30 diseases, ma-
inly cardio-vascular and cerebro-vascular disor-
ders, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases
(COPD) and cancers. 30% of all cancer deaths,
75% of all COPD deaths and 25% of all atherosc-
lerotic hearth diseases are attributed to smoking
(7). Life expectancies of people who smoke at
least 20 cigarettes per day for 25 years are esti-
mated to be 25% shorter than those of non-smo-
kers (6).
Rottman first claimed that lung cancer might
stem from tobacco use in 1898 (8). Decades la-
ter this hypothesis was proved by Roffo, who
produced skin cancer in mice, using cigarette
tar, in 1931 (8). The epidemiological relation
between cigarette smoke and lung cancer was
first reported by Muller in 1939 (8). In the wake
of Muller’s report, large case control studies
Özlü T, Bülbül Y.
Tüberküloz ve Toraks Dergisi 2005; 53(2): 200-209
valently with DNA, are regarded as an indicator of cancer risk in smokers. In recent decades, there has been a shift from
squamous and small cell lung cancer types to adenocarcinoma, due to increasing rates of smoking among female popula-
tion and rising light cigarette usage. After smoking cessation, the cumulative death risk from lung cancer decreases. Pati-
ents who continue smoking experience greater difficulties during cancer treatment. Stopping smoking may prolong survi-
val in cancer patients, and also decreases the risk of recurrent pulmonary carcinoma. In order to save lives and prevent
smoking related hazards, physicians should advise both healthy individuals and those with cancer of the benefits of stop-
ping smoking.
Key Words: Cancer, lung cancer, smoking, smoking cessation, tobacco.
Smoking and lung cancer
Tüberküloz ve Toraks Dergisi 2005; 53(2): 200-209
from the United States and Great Britain also
proved the scientific basis for an association
between cigarette smoking and lung cancer in
the 1950s (9,10). Consequently, the main cause
of lung cancer in males was reported to be ciga-
rette smoking in the Surgeon General’s Report in
1964 (11). Interestingly, a similar relation con-
cerning females was only proved in 1980.
Over 4000 bioactive chemical compounds have
been isolated from cigarette smoke, of which
more than 60 are carcinogens (12). Topical, int-
rathracheal or subcutaneous administration of
polyaromatic hydrocarbons, found in cigarette
smoke, may produce cancer in animals. Tobac-
co chewing and snuff taking have also been re-
ported to cause oral, esophageal, laryngeal and
pharyngeal cancers (13).
Lung, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, oral cavity,
pancreas, urinary bladder and renal pelvic can-
cers are strongly related to tobacco use. Tobac-
co is known to be the causative factor in the de-
velopment of colorectal, sinonazal, adrenal,
gastric, uterine, cervical and liver cancers, as
well as of myeloid leukemia. However, it is not
known whether there is a causative association
between tobacco use and such carcinomas as
prostate, brain, skin and breast carcinomas, tes-
ticular and endometrial cancers, soft tissue sar-
comas, lymphomas and melanomas (14).
In developed countries, one-third of all cancer
deaths (47% of male and 14% of female cancer
deaths) are associated with cigarette smoking
(1,15). Deaths from cancer are twice as high in
smokers compared to non-smokers. Moreover,
if the number of cigarettes smoked per day ex-
ceeds 20, death rates are four times higher com-
pared to non-smokers (16).
Lung cancer accounts for 12.8% of all cancers
worldwide and it is highly lethal among both ma-
les and females. More than 90% of patients with
lung cancer die. Of cancer deaths, 17.8% are
attributed to pulmonary carcinoma and 5-year
survival rates are less than 10%. The number of
lung cancer related deaths was reported to be 1
million in 1990 (17,18). In contrast to most can-
cers, the incidence and mortality of lung cancer
are gradually increasing. Death rates for pulmo-
nary carcinoma have been reported to have ri-
sen by 400% between 1950 and 1990 (19).
Tobacco use has been reported to be the main
cause of 90% of male and 79% of female lung
cancers (20). 90% of lung cancer deaths are es-
timated to be due to smoking (21,22). Compa-
red to non-smokers, the risk of the development
of lung cancer in lifelong smokers is 20-40 times
higher (23,24). The synergy between cigarette
smoking and exposure to asbestos, arsenic and
radon has been shown to increase the risk of pul-
monary carcinoma (25-28).
The association between cigarette smoking
and lung cancer has been proven by large co-
hort studies (29,30). 20% of smokers develop
pulmonary carcinoma and approximately 90%
of patients with lung cancer are smoker
(31,32). Capewell et al. showed that only 2% of
patients with lung cancer were non-smokers
(33). The association between cigarette and
lung cancer is stronger for squamous cell and
small cell types other than adenocarcinoma
and large cell carcinoma (24). The association
between lung cancer and smoking is also more
dominant in the male population compared to
females (Table 1).
The risk of pulmonary carcinoma in smokers
increases with commencing smoking at an early
age, the number of cigarettes consumed per day
and the depth of cigarette smoke inhalation
(31,33,34). Geographical variations and gender
differences in the incidence of lung cancer are
also related to frequency of tobacco use
Types of Cigarette Smoked
The risk of cancer development may vary ac-
cording to the type of cigarette smoked. The risk
decreases with the use of filter cigarettes (40).
Engeland et al reported a higher risk with hand-
rolled cigarettes compared to factory made ci-
garettes (34). At the same time, Chinese ciga-
rette brands were found to be less mutagenic
than Western brands (41).
Cigar and pipe smoking increase the risk of lung
cancer seven times (42). The carcinogens found
in cigars and pipes are reported to be the same
as those in cigarettes (43). However, those stu-
dies that have reported a reduced risk with ci-
gars and pipes may be related to limited use and
shallow inhalation (42). In fact, the risk of lung
cancer in cigar and pipe smokers in Denmark
and Holland, where cigar and pipe smoking in-
volves deeper inhalation, was found to be the sa-
me as that among cigarette smokers (16).
Because of their higher tar content and carcino-
gen levels, mentholated cigarettes may increase
the risk of lung cancer. Moreover, menthol faci-
litates carbon monoxide absorption and causes
retention of cigarette smoke in the lung by rest-
ricting ventilation (44-50).
Light cigarettes, which were produced to enhance
safety, do not lower the risk of cancer. During the
last 30 years, the increasing trend of consuming
cigarettes containing low tar and nicotine levels
has caused a predomination of peripherally loca-
ted adenocarcinomas, in contrast to centrally lo-
cated squamous cell cancers (21,51,52). Beca-
use real cigarette smoking may differ from smo-
king simulated by machine, light cigarette users
smoke a greater number of cigarettes per day and
make deep inhalations to restore their previous
nicotine levels. Consequently, the smoke and car-
cinogens reach more distal areas and cause pe-
ripheral lung cancers (21,52,53).
Environmental Smoke Exposure and
Lung Cancer
Environmental cigarette smoke exposure has
been shown to cause pulmonary carcinoma in
several studies (54-58). Exposure to smoke al-
ters the risk of lung cancer by 15-25%
(56,57,59). Indeed, it has been shown that non-
smokers exposed to cigarette smoke have some
metabolites of tobacco carcinogens (60-63).
Squamous cell lung cancer is the most common
histological type among non-smokers exposed
to environmental smoke (58). In addition, de-
aths due to lung cancer in non-smoking women
whose husbands smoke are 20% higher than in
women whose husbands are non-smokers (54).
Cardenas et al. reported a higher risk in women
whose husbands smoke more than two packets
a day (64). It was also reported that the risk of
lung cancer rises by 30% in non-smokers living
with smokers (19). The risk of lung cancer is
twice as high in individuals exposed to indoor ci-
garette smoke during childhood and adolescen-
ce (19).
Smoking Related Carcinogenesis
The balance between the metabolic activation
and detoxification of the carcinogens in smoke
determines the risk of individual cancer deve-
lopment. Metabolites occurring during the acti-
vation of carcinogens bind covalently with DNA,
and this produces DNA adducts. DNA adducts
are regarded as an indicator of cancer risk in
smokers. The level of DNA adducts is directly
related to the intensity of cigarettes smoked
(65,66). However, DNA adduct levels gradually
decrease after stopping smoking, and previously
produced DNA adducts return to a normal DNA
structure, by means of DNA repair mechanisms
(67). However, some DNA adducts escaping the
repair mechanisms may cause miscoding. If
miscoded cells are not killed by apoptotic mec-
hanisms, mutations are inevitable. On the other
hand, free radicals in cigarette smoke cause oxi-
Özlü T, Bülbül Y.
203 Tüberküloz ve Toraks Dergisi 2005; 53(2): 200-209
Table 1. Relative risk of lung cancer in Europe according to smoking status and the sex (adapted from Simona-
to L, et al. Int J Cancer 2001).
Male Female
Smoking status Squamous cell Adenocarcinoma Squamous/small cell Ca. Adenocarcinoma
Non-smoker 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
Stopped 16.2* 3.5* 3.8* 1.1
Smoker 57.9* 8.0* 18.2* 4.1*
* p< 0.05.
dative damage to and mutations in DNA. Some
mutations activate oncogenes and inhibit tumor
suppressor genes.
The most important event in the pathogenesis of
lung cancer is mutation in the TP53 gene. TP53
protein is involved in several processes inclu-
ding cell cycle control, DNA synthesis/repair,
cell differentiation, gene transcription and prog-
rammed cell death. TP53 gene mutations are
detected in 50% of NSCLC and 70% of SCLC pa-
tients (68-71). The characteristics of cigarette
smoke related lung cancer are G:C and T:A
transversions (72-74). These mutations are mo-
re frequent in females who smoke (68). Vaha-
kangas et al. determined those mutations in
both current and past smokers (74). Mutant
TP53 and K-RAS genes may be detected in spu-
tum several months before the diagnosis of lung
cancer of smokers (75). Ahrendt et al. also re-
ported that TP 53 gene mutations are facilitated
by the joint use of tobacco and alcohol (76).
These data suggest that alcohol may increase
the mutagenicity of cigarettes.
Smoking Related Lung Cancers in Women
Currently, the incidence of lung cancer in fema-
les is not as high as that in males, mostly due to
the lower smoking rates among females. Howe-
ver, while lung cancer deaths have been decli-
ning in the USA and Europe, they have been ri-
sing among females for the last 20 years
(20,77). The rate of deaths due to pulmonary
carcinoma increased by 600% in the USA fema-
le population from 1930 to 1997 (78). Irrespec-
tive of levels of exposure to cigarette smoke, the
TP 53 gene, G:C and T:A mutations and DNA
adduct levels in females were reported to be hig-
her than in males (68,79-81). Mollerup et al. al-
so showed altered CYP1A1 gene expression in
females compared to males (81). Activation of
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by means of
the CYP1A1 gene causes the formation of incre-
ased DNA adducts (82). Polymorphism in the
glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) gene, in-
volving the metabolism of carcinogens activated
by the CYP1A1 gene and also blocking free ra-
dical formation, is encountered more frequently
in female smokers than in males (83,84). DNA
repair capacity is lower and K-ras mutations in
NSCLC are also higher in females (85,86).
G:C and T:A transversions, which are more
common in lung cancer due to cigarette smo-
king, are more frequent in female smokers com-
pared to non-smoking females. However, G:C
and T:A transversion frequencies are not signifi-
cantly different between male smokers and non-
smokers (68).
Some studies suggest that the risk of lung can-
cer development in females who smoke the sa-
me number of cigarettes as males is higher than
that in males (87-89). The risk of small cell lung
cancer development is reported to be higher in
females who smoke the same amount as males,
while the risk of squamous cell lung cancer is re-
ported to be the same in both the male and fe-
male populations (90,91). However, reports pre-
senting contrary findings also exist (77,92). The
inconsistencies between studies may originate
from differences in the smoking behavior of fe-
males compared to that of males. Indeed, the
higher frequency of adenocarcinoma in females
was found to be related to female smoking pat-
terns (21,93,94). Women smoke due to negati-
ve feelings, in contrast to males, in whom addic-
tion is predominant (95). Depression among fe-
male smokers is more common than in males
(95). This different motivation and behavior
may be related to females taking more puffs and
inhaling more deeply, which subsequently ca-
uses carcinogens to reach the lung periphery.
Again, starting smoking at later ages and the
use of filter cigarettes among females may be
responsible for the higher incidence of adeno-
carcinoma in women.
Without respect to the total number of cigarettes
smoked, the risk of lung cancer increases if the
age at which smoking begins is lower than 20 for
males and 25 for females (96). Estrogen repla-
cement at more advanced ages also increases
the risk of lung cancer, especially adenocarcino-
ma in women (88,97,98). These data predict the
role of hormonal factors in the development of
cancer due to tobacco use. Taioli reported a re-
lationship between increased risk of adenocarci-
nomas and estrogens, endogenous or exogeno-
Smoking and lung cancer
Tüberküloz ve Toraks Dergisi 2005; 53(2): 200-209
us (99). Although the clinical significance is
unknown, some authors have reported incre-
ased alpha type estrogen receptors in human
lung cancer (100-102).
In a study analyzing indoor cigarette smoke ex-
posure between husbands and wives, lung can-
cer mortality in non-smoking wives exposed to
their husbands’ cigarette smoke were interes-
tingly found to be three times higher than that
in non-smoking husbands exposed to their wi-
ves’ cigarette smoke (103). This may be rela-
ted to the duration of indoor exposure experi-
enced by females since they spend longer at
home, and may also be related to intense ex-
posure to other indoor pollutants from cooking,
heating etc.
Quit Smoking and Lung Cancer
After smoking cessation, the cumulative death
risk from lung cancer decreases. Peto et al. sho-
wed that the earlier cigarette smoking stops the
greater the decline in lung cancer mortality (23).
For instance, while the cumulative lung cancer
mortality risk is 9.9% in subjects who stop smo-
king at the age of 60, the risk is only 3% in tho-
se who stop smoking at 40 (23). A study by Si-
monato et al. carried out in six European count-
ries shown that the risk of lung cancer develop-
ment decreases gradually in the years following
stopping smoking (Table 2) (24). The data pre-
sented here were also supported by large, pros-
pective studies performed on British male doc-
tors and US veterans (29,30).
Quit Smoking and Lung Cancer Treatment
Of all cancer patients, 46-75% have been repor-
ted to be smokers at the time of diagnosis. Of
these patients, 14-58% continue smoking (104).
It has been reported that physicians who smoke
do not sufficiently encourage their patients to
stop smoking (104). Davitson et al. reported
that some physicians think that patients rece-
iving cancer treatment cannot tolerate stopping
smoking (105). Despite the evidence regarding
the negative and harmful effects of cigarette
smoking during cancer treatment, some physici-
ans claim that “It is too late”, “It is too difficult”
to “stop on their own” and that “stopping rates
under therapy are low” (104).
Patients who continue smoking experience greater
difficulties during cancer treatment (106,107). Tu-
mor response to chemotherapy decreases and the
risk of radiotherapy related pulmonary fibrosis
increases by 20% in patients who continue smo-
king (108,109). An enhanced risk of recurrent
pulmonary carcinoma in these patients was repor-
ted in several studies (110-113). Survival time is
also shorter compared to that of ex-smokers
(113-117). Postoperative complications and
lung function loss after pulmonary resection are
also higher in cancer patients who continuing
smoking (104).
However, postoperative complications in pati-
ents who stop smoking decline (118). Blood
pressure, heart rate and carbon monoxide levels
are known to return to normal levels in a matter
of hours after giving up smoking. Sense of taste,
circulation and respiratory system recovery ta-
kes days, while metabolic functions and the im-
mune system require months (119). Quality of
life, general health conditions, cognitive functi-
ons, anxiety and physiologic functions improve
and cancer treatment becomes more effective in
ex-smokers (119,120). Improvements in respi-
ratory distress, weakness, daily activities, appe-
tite, sleep and pulmonary functions have also
been reported (119). Toxicity due to cancer tre-
atment has also been reported to decline in for-
mer smokers (121). Johnston-Early et al. sho-
wed prolonged survival in SCLC patients after
stop smoking, and another study reported hig-
Özlü T, Bülbül Y.
205 Tüberküloz ve Toraks Dergisi 2005; 53(2): 200-209
Table 2. Relationship between stop smoking and
lung cancer (adapted from Simonato L, et al. Int
J Cancer 2001).
Relative risk
Time after cessation Male Female
2-9 years 0.66* 0.41*
10-19 years 0.27* 0.19*
20-29 years 0.170 0.08*
> 30 years 0.08* 0.13*
Never smoked 0.04* 0.11*
Current smoker 1.00 1.00
* p< 0.05.
her chemo-resistance rates in NSCLC (especi-
ally squamous cell) patients who continued
smoking (116,121). Cigarette smoking lowers
therapeutic drug levels by changing hepatic me-
tabolism, which may have a negative impact on
chemotherapeutic drugs.
Approximately one-third of patients start smo-
king cigarettes again after cancer diagnosis
(122). Interestingly, 13% of patients go back to
smoking after thoracotomy (123). These data
suggest that physicians should ask cancer pati-
ents about smoking, and should encourage
them to quit and provide technical support. Pro-
fessional approaches supported by physicians
are known to be more effective and to enjoy hig-
her success rates (124).
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    • "Cigarette smoke is the leading cause of preventable diseases worldwide and, in the USA alone, smoking causes approximately 400 000 deaths annually1, 2. Smoking is associated with an increased incidence of acute respiratory infections3, periodontitis4, bacterial meningitis5, rheumatoid arthritis6, Crohn's disease7, systemic lupus erythematosus8, atherosclerosis9, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases10, lung cancer11 and coronary heart disease12. While increasing data indicate that smoking might decrease the incidence and/or severity of several diseases, including ulcerative colitis13, 14, Parkinson's disease (PD)15, 16, 17, 18, some forms of Alzheimer's disease (AD)19, 20, 21, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP)22 and type I diabetes23; nicotine also protects the kidneys from renal ischemia/reperfusion injury24. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cigarette smoke is a major health risk factor which significantly increases the incidence of diseases including lung cancer and respiratory infections. However, there is increasing evidence that smokers have a lower incidence of some inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. Nicotine is the main immunosuppressive constituent of cigarette smoke, which inhibits both the innate and adaptive immune responses. Unlike cigarette smoke, nicotine is not yet considered to be a carcinogen and may, in fact, have therapeutic potential as a neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory agent. This review provides a synopsis summarizing the effects of nicotine on the immune system and its (nicotine) influences on various neurological diseases.Keywords: nicotine, cigarette smoke, immune system
    Full-text · Article · May 2009
    • "Epidemiological evidence confirms that exposure to cigarette smoke, a complex mixture of more than 4000 particulate and volatile components, increases the incidence of lung carcinogenesis, a leading cause of cancer deaths in the US and other developed countries (Sasco et al., 2004). The risk of lung cancer development is 20–40 times higher in lifelong smokers compared to non-smokers accounting for 90% of male and 79% of female lung cancers (Ozlu and Bulbul, 2005). Airway inflammation is ubiquitous in the lungs of smokers, regardless of the presence or absence of lung disease. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cigarette smoke is a powerful inducer of inflammatory responses resulting in disruption of major cellular pathways with transcriptional and genomic alterations driving the cells towards carcinogenesis. Cell culture and animal model studies indicate that (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the major polyphenol present in green tea, possesses potent anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative activity capable of selectively inhibiting cell growth and inducing apoptosis in cancer cells without adversely affecting normal cells. Here, we demonstrate that EGCG pretreatment (20-80 microM) of normal human bronchial epithelial cells (NHBE) resulted in significant inhibition of cigarette smoke condensate (CSC)-induced cell proliferation. Nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) controls the transcription of genes involved in immune and inflammatory responses. In most cells, NF-kappaB prevents apoptosis by mediating cell survival signals. Pretreatment of NHBE cells with EGCG suppressed CSC-induced phosphorylation of IkappaBalpha, and activation and nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB/p65. NHBE cells transfected with a luciferase reporter plasmid containing an NF-kappaB-inducible promoter sequence showed an increased reporter activity after CSC exposure that was specifically inhibited by EGCG pretreatment. Immunoblot analysis showed that pretreatment of NHBE cells with EGCG resulted in a significant downregulation of NF-kappaB-regulated proteins cyclin D1, MMP-9, IL-8 and iNOS. EGCG pretreatment further inhibited CSC-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2, JNK and p38 MAPKs and resulted in a decreased expression of PI3K, AKT and mTOR signaling molecules. Taken together, our data indicate that EGCG can suppress NF-kappaB activation as well as other pro-survival pathways such as PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MAPKs in NHBE cells, which may contribute to its ability to suppress inflammation, proliferation and angiogenesis induced by cigarette smoke.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2007
    • "Cigarette smoking is somewhat less prevalent in the cancer patients than the non-cancer patients, in spite of the well-known association of tobacco use and cancer incidence. This could be because cancer survivors are highly motivated to quit smoking [30], or that smokers with cancer die at a higher rate than non-smokers with cancer [31]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) have emerged as important drug targets for diabetes. Drugs that activate PPARgamma, such as the thiazolidinediones (TZDs), are widely used for treatment of Type 2 diabetes mellitus. PPARgamma signaling could also play an anti-neoplastic role in several in vitro models, although conflicting results are reported from in vivo models. The effects of TZDs on cancer risk in humans needs to be resolved as these drugs are prescribed for long periods of time in patients with diabetes. A total of 1003 subjects in community practice settings were interviewed at home at the time of enrolment into the Vermont Diabetes Information System, a clinical decision support program. Patients self-reported their personal and clinical characteristics, including any history of malignancy. Laboratory data were obtained directly from the clinical laboratory and current medications were obtained by direct observation of medication containers. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of the interviewed subjects to assess a possible association between cancer diagnosis and the use of TZDs. In a multivariate logistic regression model, a diagnosis of cancer was significantly associated with TZD use, even after correcting for potential confounders including other oral anti-diabetic agents (sulfonylureas and biguanides), age, glycosylated hemoglobin A1C, body mass index, cigarette smoking, high comorbidity, and number of prescription medications (odds ratio = 1.59, P = 0.04). This association was particularly strong among patients using rosiglitazone (OR = 1.89, P = 0.02), and among women (OR = 2.07, P = 0.01). These data suggest an association between TZD use and cancer in patients with diabetes. Further studies are required to determine if this association is causal.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2007
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