New research suggests that lung cancer in people who have never smoked may be a different disease than it is in smokers.
"This is suggesting there might be something different going on with tumors in never-smokers," Thu said. "If we find out lung cancer in never-smokers is a different disease and we can identify what those differences are, maybe we can design specific therapies that target the genetic alterations in never-smokers and improve the prognosis."
Drugs that target particular genetic pathways have been very successful. Erlotinib (Tarceva), for example, has been shown to extend the lives of lung cancer patients with the EGFR mutation, present in about 10 percent of lung cancers, Carbone said. (- Healthday News, November 2010)