CTC studies drive breakthrough in linking air pollution and cancer
12 September 2022
Samples taken in the CTC studies PEACE and TRACERx have enabled researchers to uncover more about the link between air pollution and developing cancer. 

Analysis of normal tissue from participants in the studies suggests we all carry DNA mutations which have the potential to turn into cancer, and chronic exposure to air pollution can act as a trigger in this process.

Air pollution now causes around 1 in 10 cases of lung cancer diagnosed in the UK. Although smoking remains the biggest cause of the disease, the research is working to uncover other factors in its development.  

Prof Charles Swanton, Chief Investigator for TRACERx, presented the findings to the European Society for Medical Oncology on Saturday. He told the Guardian: 'Globally, more people are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution than to toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke, and these new data link the importance of addressing climate health to improving human health.'

The findings have generated national press attention; more can be read at the links below.

  • BBC - 'Cancer rules rewritten by air-pollution discovery'
  • The Guardian - 'Cancer breakthrough is a ‘wake-up’ call on danger of air pollution'
  • The Financial Times - 'Scientists discover how air pollution causes lung cancer'

Photo by Iain Buchanan

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