Lung cancer pathophysiology

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Kim-Son H. Nguyen M.D. Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [2] Dildar Hussain, MBBS [3] Michael Maddaleni, B.S.

Overview

The pathophysiology of lung cancer includes both genetic and environmental factors. Causality of the majority of lung cancer is linked to tobacco usage. Carcinogenic effects of tobacco smoking may result in DNA mis-replication and mutation. Smoking starts a cascade of events that leads to cancer development, even decades after smoking cessation. Besides smokers, patients with the history of prior respiratory tract or gastrointestinal tract cancer comprise a high-risk population. Other environmental factors include radon, asbestos, viral infections, and states of chronic lung inflammation, all of which may predispose to cellular damage and DNA mutations that predispose to the development of lung cancers.

Pathophysiology

The pathophysiology of lung cancer includes both genetic and environmental factors.[1][2][3]

Lung Cancer Pathogenesis

Familial lung cancer
Multistep tumorigenesis
Accumulation of Molecular Abnormalities

Field of Injury and Field Cancerization

Genetics

Environment

Although genetics play a significant role in the pathogenesis of lung cancer, it is thought that exposure to environmental risk factors plays an equally important role in the development of lung cancer. The main causes of lung cancer include carcinogens (such as those present in tobacco smoke), ionizing radiation, and viral infections. Chronic exposure results in cumulative alterations to the DNA in the tissue lining the bronchi of the lungs (the bronchial epithelium). Irreversible DNA changes following exposure to carcinogens are directly associated with the development of lung cancer.[16]

Smoking

Radon Gas

The association of radon gas exposure to lung cancer is described below:[27][28]

Asbestos

Viruses

Infection and Inflammation

References

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