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Eur Respir J. 2010 Dec;36(6):1375-82. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00033310.

Chromosome 4q31 locus in COPD is also associated with lung cancer.

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Dept of Medicine, Auckland Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the single greatest risk factor for lung cancer in smokers and is found in 50-90% of lung cancer cases. The link between COPD and lung cancer may stem in part from the matrix remodelling and repair processes underlying COPD, and the development of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) that underlies lung carcinogenesis. The Hedgehog-interacting protein (HHIP), which mediates the epithelial response (EMT) to smoking, has been implicated in COPD and lung cancer. Recent genome-wide and candidate gene studies of COPD implicate genetic variants on the chromosomal 4q31 (HHIP/glycophorin A (GYPA)) locus. In a case-control study of smokers with normal lung function, COPD and lung cancer (subphenotyped for COPD), we show the GG genotype of the rs 1489759 HHIP single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and the CC genotype of the rs 2202507 GYPA SNP confers a "protective" effect on COPD (OR 0.59, p = 0.006 for HHIP and OR = 0.65, p = 0.006 for GYPA) and lung cancer (OR = 0.70 (p = 0.05) for HHIP and OR 0.70 (p = 0.02) for GYPA). This study suggests that, in smokers, genetic variants of the 4q31 locus conferring a protective effect for COPD are also protective in lung cancer. We conclude that genetic susceptibility to lung cancer includes COPD-related gene variants.

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