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Tobacco-related cancer: How does it happen?

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 How does tobacco trigger the more than 170,000 cases of lung cancer that have already been diagnosed this year? While nearly 90 percent of them involved smokers, according to research estimates, only about 25 percent of all smokers are said to develop lung cancer. Why? What disposes some and spares others?

Researchers will discuss these types of questions and share new biochemical and epidemiologic studies, review key findings, and discuss lingering issues in a special symposium: "Tobacco Carcinogenesis," on Tuesday, Aug. 30, during the American Chemical Societys 230th national meeting in Washington, D.C. The symposium will be held at the Renaissance Washington Hotel, East Ballroom, from 8:00 a.m. to noon.

Stephen S. Hecht, Ph.D., head of cancer prevention at the University of Minnesota Cancer Center, and Trevor M. Penning, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacology and principal investigator of a program project on carcinogenesis at the University of Pennsylvania, organized the symposium, which includes scientists from academia, government and industry. Highlights include:

An overview of tobacco carcinogenesis What are the major classes of tobacco carcinogens? How might these compounds lead to cancer? As the symposium proceeds, researchers will explore specific tobacco cancer biochemistry in greater detail. For instance, Professor Penning will discuss the ways in which one variety of carcinogenic compounds polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons may form lesions in DNA, which can lead to gene mutations that allow cancer cells to emerge and grow unchecked. (TOXI 30, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 8:00 a.m.)

Epidemiology of tobacco-related cancer Scientists estimate that only 25 percent of smokers develop lung cancer. Why do some smokers escape the disease, while others die from it? To find out, Peter G. Shields, M.D., director of cancer genetics and epidemiology at Georgetown Universitys
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