South Korean researchers have identified one of the causes of squamous-cell carcinoma, which makes up 30 per cent of all lung cancers.
The research team led by Park Keun-chil, professor at the Samsung Medical Center, analysed the genomes of 104 patients suffering from the disease, of whom 99 had smoked for more than 20 years.
The result demonstrated that FGFR3-TACC3 gene fusion is expressed when smoking takes place for a long period of time, the researchers said.
The fusion of the two genes is known to cause active cell proliferation and division.
"We've seen some progress with the research on the FGFR3 gene. It's highly likely that a targeted cancer therapy to treat the cancer resulting from the gene fusion will soon be developed," Park said.
The researchers stressed that the most effective preventive measure for lung cancers is to quit smoking as soon as possible to prevent genetic modification.