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Promise and Progress - Cancer Patients Who Quit Smoking Live Longer

Reprogramming Cancer Cells - The Story of Epigenetics
Issue No. 1

Cancer Patients Who Quit Smoking Live Longer

Date: July 16, 2014

The Oncologist, December 2013

New evidence reveals that cigarette smoking is not just a leading cause of cancer, but it also significantly contributes to poor responses to treatment in those already suffering from the disease.

In a study of 278 patients with advanced kidney cancer, conducted at the Kimmel Cancer Center and Tel Aviv University in Israel, investigators found patients who were smokers had diminished responses to anticancer drug treatment and marked decreases in survival of seven to 15 months when compared to previous smokers and nonsmokers.  The research team, led by Michael Carducci, M.D., the AEGON Professor of Prostate Cancer Research and the Associate Director for Clinical Research, found active smoking had the greatest negative affect on treatment response, cancer progression, and overall survival when measured against other factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other major health risks.

Dr. Carducci and team suggest that the mechanisms of how smoking impacts treatment could be worked out, but they point to known cell damage and affects on immunologic functions as potential culprits. He recommends that clinicians advise patients with metastatic cancer to quit smoking at the start of treatment.

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