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Scientists find clues to how air pollution may trigger lung cancer [Video]

CNN  — 

Scientists have long known that air pollution can be linked with an increased risk of lung cancer in people who never smoked, but new research describes one mechanism that might help explain how.

The findings, presented Saturday at the European Society for Medical Oncology Presidential Symposium in Paris, suggest that air pollution can trigger lung cancer in people with no history of smoking because some air pollutant particles may promote changes in cells in the airways.

In particular, more exposure to airborne particulate matter or particle pollution– at 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller – can drive rapid changes in airway cells that have mutations in a gene called EGFR, which are seen in about half of people with lung cancer who have never smoked, and another gene linked to lung cancer called KRAS, according to the research, conducted by scientists at the Francis Crick Institute in London and other institutions around the …

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