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Sunday 17th December 2017

Smoking and cancer insight

8th August 2006

Studies reported by US researchers online by the Journal of Clinical Investigation give a new understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying nicotine's ability to induce tumour cell proliferation and progression.

They suggest that nicotine functions like a growth factor; the presence of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are key players in nicotine-induced cell proliferation. nAChRs bind nicotine, they are present on bronchial cells as well as on lung cancer cells.

The authors say that there is no evidence that nicotine contributes to the induction of tumours, but it has been demonstrated that nicotine promotes the growth of solid tumours in vivo.  This suggests that nicotine might be contributing to the progression of tumours already initiated.

The researchers showed that stimulation of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells, as well as bronchial cells, with physiologic doses of nicotine leads to robust cell proliferation that is dependent on nAChRs.

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