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Lung Cancer Outcomes Better in Never-Smokers

Never-smokers significantly more likely to respond to treatment than former or current smokers

MONDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- Never-smokers with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) respond better to treatment and have improved overall survival compared to NSCLC patients with a smoking history, according to a study published online April 24 in the journal Cancer.

Anne S. Tsao, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues reviewed the medical records of 1,370 NSCLC patients who were treated with chemotherapy or chemoradiation.

The researchers found that never-smokers had a response rate of 19 percent compared to 8 percent for former smokers and 12 percent for current smokers. They also found that one-year overall survival rates were 62.6 percent for never-smokers compared to 41.8 percent for former smokers and 42.7 percent for current smokers.

"Although the National Health Interview Survey reported a decrease since 1997 in the percentage of adult active smokers, [more than] 20 percent of adults still smoke," the authors write. "Many patients with lung cancer initiate smoking at an early age and studies in former smokers report that patients who initiate smoking at an early age may be more susceptible to the development of persistent DNA adducts. Continued efforts at preventing smoking initiation is a critical public health issue and emphasizes the need for chemoprevention for smokers and primary prevention protocols to prevent smoking."

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