Cigarette smoking has been a well-established risk factor of lung cancer for decades. How smoking contributes to tumorigenesis in the lung remains not fully understood. Here we report the results of a genome-wide study of DNA copy number and smoking pack-years in a large collection of nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors. Genome-wide analyses of DNA copy number and pack-years of cigarette smoking were performed on 264 NSCLC tumors, which were divided into discovery and validation sets. The copy number-smoking associations were investigated in three scales: whole-genome, chromosome/arm, and focal regions. We found that heavy cigarette smokers (>60 pack-years) have significantly more copy number gains than non- or light smokers (≤60 pack-years) (P = 2.46 × 10−4), especially in 8q and 12q. Copy number losses tend to occur away from genes in non/light smokers (P = 5.15 × 10−5) but not in heavy smokers (P = 0.52). Focal copy number analyses showed that there are strong associations of copy number and cigarette smoking pack-years in 12q23 (P = 9.69 × 10−10) where IGF1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) is located. All of the above analyses were tested in the discovery set and confirmed in the validation set. DNA double-strand break assays using human bronchial epithelial cell lines treated with cigarette smoke condensate were also performed, and indicated that cigarette smoke condensate leads to genome instability in human bronchial epithelial cells. We conclude that cigarette smoking leads to more copy number alterations, which may be mediated by the genome instability
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