According to a recent report, lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer mortality among women, accounting for one-fourth of all female deaths last year.
Estrogen may be key
The report, published in the April 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, discusses differences in the biology of lung cancer between the sexes, including genetic mutations, increased production of enzymes that cause cancer growth and hormonal changes.
According to the report, women are more likely than men to develop adenocarcinoma, a subtype of lung cancer. Adenocarcinoma, once a rare type of lung cancer, is now the most common type of the disease and is less associated with smoking. The authors of the report say this difference in prevalence between sexes suggests basic differences in lung cancer. Mounting evidence suggests that these differences could be due to estrogen.
Lung cancer and estrogen linked
Research has found that lung cancer cells have more estrogen receptors on their surface than normal lung cells.