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Smoking is associated with mosaic loss of chromosome Y

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Science  04 Dec 2014:
1262092
DOI: 10.1126/science.1262092

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Abstract

Tobacco smoking is a risk factor for numerous disorders, including cancers affecting organs outside the respiratory tract. Epidemiological data suggest that smoking is a greater risk factor for these cancers in males compared to females. This observation, together with the fact that males have a higher incidence of and mortality from most non–sex-specific cancers, remains unexplained. Loss of chromosome Y (LOY) in blood cells is associated with increased risk of nonhematological tumors. We demonstrate here that smoking is associated with LOY in blood cells in three independent cohorts [TwinGene: odds ratio (OR) = 4.3, 95% CI = 2.8–6.7; ULSAM: OR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.6–3.6; and PIVUS: OR = 3.5, 95% CI = 1.4–8.4] encompassing a total of 6014 men. The data also suggest that smoking has a transient and dose-dependent mutagenic effect on LOY status. The finding that smoking induces LOY thus links a preventable risk factor with the most common acquired human mutation.

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