Research Treatment

Lung cancer in never-smokers may respond poorly to immunotherapy due to genetic mutations, suggesting a need for tailored treatments.

Lung cancer in people who have never smoked can be more difficult to treat, and a new study may have uncovered why. The research, published in Cancer Discovery, found that lung tumors in never-smokers often have a weaker response to common treatments like immunotherapy.

While smoking is a major risk factor for lung cancer, about 10-20% of cases occur in people who have never smoked. These cases are often driven by genetic mutations, and the study suggests that these mutations may be the reason behind the less effective treatment response.

The researchers analyzed tumor samples from over 1,000 patients with lung cancer, comparing those who had never smoked with those who had. They discovered that tumors in never-smokers had lower levels of a protein called PD-L1, which helps the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells. Immunotherapy drugs work by boosting the immune response, but they rely on PD-L1 to effectively target cancer cells.

These findings could have significant implications for treating lung cancer in never-smokers. Doctors may need to consider different treatment approaches or develop new therapies specifically designed for this group. More research is needed, but this study highlights the unique challenges of treating lung cancer in people who have never smoked.

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