Do e-Cigarettes Contribute to Risk of Lung Cancer?

 

Speakers at a press conference on e-cigarettes, held during the 12th Annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention in October 2013, all agreed that despite what happens with regulation, more research is urgently needed to inform and protect users as well as determine long-term consequences of vaping. For example, although toxic exposure is substantially lower, what happens when propylene glycol is inhaled? Although research is now ongoing on several fronts, answers to such questions are at least 2 to 4 years out, said Peter Shields, MD, deputy director at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center–Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, and professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, in Columbus, OH.

RELATED: Lung Cancer Resource Center

On January 8, 2014, one preclinical study reported at the AACR-International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Joint Conference on the Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer, found that when human bronchial epithelial cells carrying p53 and KRAS genetic mutations were exposed to the chemicals in e-cigarette vapor, the aggressive behavior of the cells were enhanced.13

“As a result, we think that e-cigarette exposure could contribute to lung cancer in individuals at high risk for the disease,” said Stacy J. Park, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles. Calling these results “preliminary,” and noting, “much more research is needed,” she nonetheless said the data “show that people should approach e-cigarette use with caution and not assume it is safe.”

 

References

 

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  10. US Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing tobacco use among youth and young adults. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2012. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2012/index.htm.
  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Notes from the field: electronic cigarette use among middle and high school students—United States, 2011-2012. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2013; 62(35):729-730. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6235a6.htm.
  12. National Association of Attorneys General. Letter to The Honorable Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration. September 24, 2013. Available at: http://www.ncdoj.gov/getdoc/bf9ecec0-bbae-4ca8-8082-c59f6059db13/E-Cigarette-Final-Letter.aspx.
  13. Park SJ, Walser TC, Perdomo C, et al. The effect of e-cigarette exposure on airway epithelial cell gene expression and transformation. Clin Cancer Res. 2014 20: abstract B16.

This article originally appeared on Cancer Therapy Advisor