Smoking hurts chances of cancer treatment, damages ‘tumor suppressors’ by changing DNA: Study

Tobacco smoking reduces the chances of effective treatment in cases of cancer, as it damages the body’s “tumor suppressors” by changing the DNA, as per a study conducted by scientists at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR).

The study, published in Science Advances journal on November 3, said smoking alters the DNA responsible for developing a protein that stops the growth of abnormal cells such as those of cancer. 

This change made to the DNA due to tobacco smoking is known as ‘stop-gain mutation’. It affects the genes that are responsible for forming the protein that suppresses the growth of tumour cells, as per the study.

Also Read: Smoking Is a Dying Habit. Not in Germany.

“Our study showed that smoking is associated with changes to DNA that disrupt the formation of tumor suppressors,” says Nina Adler, a University of Toronto PhD student who led the study, was quoted as saying.

“Without them, abnormal cells are allowed to keep growing unchecked by the cell’s defenses and cancer can develop more easily,” Adler added.

Also Read: The last draw: Is the next cigarette your last?

The researchers said they arrived at this conclusion after analysing DNA from than 12,000 tumour samples, related to 18 different types of cancer. The study pointed towards a link between ‘footprint’ that smoking leaves in DNA, and the stop-gain mutations recorded in lung cancer patients.

“Tobacco does a lot of damage to our DNA, and that can have a major impact on the function of our cells. Our study highlights how tobacco smoking actually deactivates critical proteins, which are the building blocks of our cells, and the impact that can have on our long-term health,” said Dr. Jüri Reimand, an OICR Investigator and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, who was part of the team of researchers.

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Updated: 08 Nov 2023, 08:49 PM IST

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