Indexed on: 31 Mar '17Published on: 31 Mar '17Published in: Oncology letters
Lung cancer, which has a low survival rate, is a leading cause of cancer-associated mortality worldwide. Smoking and air pollution are the major causes of lung cancer; however, numerous studies have demonstrated that genetic factors also contribute to the development of lung cancer. A family history of lung cancer increases the risk for the disease in both smokers and never-smokers. This review focuses on familial lung cancer, in particular on the familial aggregation of lung cancer. The development of familial lung cancer involves shared environmental and genetic factors among family members. Familial lung cancer represents a good model for investigating the association between environmental and genetic factors, as well as for identifying susceptibility genes for lung cancer. In addition, studies on familial lung cancer may help to elucidate the etiology and mechanism of lung cancer, and may identify novel biomarkers for early detection and diagnosis, targeted therapy and improved prevention strategies. This review presents the aetiology and molecular biology of lung cancer and then systematically introduces and discusses several aspects of familial lung cancer, including the characteristics of familial lung cancer, population-based studies on familial lung cancer and the genetics of familial lung cancer.