Today is Tuesday, Sep. 22, 2020

Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences

Research Projects

Family Lung Cancer Study

Family Lung Cancer CentersThe Family Lung Cancer Study

Results of past research studies have suggested that some persons may be genetically more susceptible to developing lung cancer when exposed to environmental factors such as cigarette smoke. Scientists at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine are working with other scientists throughout the US to find these susceptibility genes. This large research study is being conducted by the Genetic Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Consortium and is funded by the National Cancer Institute. The University of Cincinnati portion of the study is known as the Family Lung Cancer Study.


Who should participate in this study?

We are searching for persons diagnosed with lung cancer, who also have a family history of one or more blood relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, or grandparents) who have been diagnosed with lung cancer. These persons may be living or deceased. If the person is eligible, we then collect information and a blood or saliva specimen.


What is involved in being part of this study?

Participants in our study are asked to fill out questionnaires about family history of cancer and cigarette smoking history, and sometimes asked to answer additional questions in a phone interview. All expenses are paid for by the research project. An individual may participate in one or several parts of the study, depending on the requirements of the study and the preferences of that person.

All questionnaire and genotype information is maintained in a highly confidential manner, protected by a Certificate of Confidentiality participant provided by the National Institutes of Health. Data are then analyzed in the process of searching for the genes which cause susceptibility to lung cancer.

Who would interview me?

One of our research associates would contact you and make all arrangements for participation in the study.

I’d like to participate in the study, who do I contact?

Please call or email Susan Pinney at (513) 558-0684 email Susan.Pinney@uc.edu. We will then send you a short questionnaire asking about your family history of lung cancer.

What is involved in your participation?

Your participation can involve the following, depending on the requirements of the study and/or the preferences of each individual family member.

  • Completion of mailed questionnaires and phone interviews with Research Associates at the Family Lung Cancer Study, to provide us with demographic, medical, and health habit information. All can be done by mail or phone.
  • Provide a blood sample of 4-5 tablespoons donated at a time of your convenience, without any cost to you, at a local laboratory or physician’s office.
  • Provide a saliva specimen using a kit mailed by us to your home.
  • Allow us to obtain certain medical and/or pathology reports to confirm a cancer diagnosis of a family member or yourself.
  • Allow us to contact you annually to update your family tree.


How will you use the blood or saliva sample?

In our laboratory, we will use the DNA in the white blood cells to determine that person’s genotype. Through statistical analyses we hope to identify the susceptibility genes.

Will I be given my gene test results?

The goal of this study is to understand the meaning of genetic susceptibility mutations. Because we are still collecting and analyzing data to help us understand any genes which cause susceptibility to lung cancer, the meaning of an individual result may not be understood for some time. Identifying such genes will aid in the development of strategies for the improved prevention and treatment of lung cancer. When and if we detect the presence of any genetic susceptibility mutations, all study participants will be contacted and informed of our discoveries. However, individual gene test results will not be given to any participants. In the event that you wish to learn more about your personal genetic susceptibility, we will assist you in obtaining a genetic counselor, who will perform a new blood test and explain your results to you. This is another way of protecting your confidentiality.

How will the Family Lung Cancer Study help people with lung cancer?

Identification of the gene(s) that leads to susceptibility to lung cancer is of major public health significance. Eventually this knowledge could be used to identify individuals with especially high risk for lung cancer. These individuals could then be targeted for early screening programs including a new test, spiral CT scan, smoking cessation programs, and perhaps drugs of the future which would prevent lung cancer.

How will my family’s participation make a difference?

In our nationwide study, we have worked with literally hundreds of participants as we search for the genes that increase risk for lung cancer. The cooperation of persons with lung cancer is crucial for the success of the Family Lung Cancer Study. Although there will be no immediate, direct benefits from participation in the Family Lung Cancer Study, we hope that the information you provide will be of benefit to you. It is possible that our research will result in improved prevention and treatment of lung cancer.

Where can I go for more information on support groups for myself and my family?

Many communities offer information and support services for those individuals affected by cancer. Contact your local United Way or community hospital for suggestions. Many national resources may also offer information and direct you to local resources.

Funding for this research has been provided by:

  • National Cancer Institute
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (through the Center for Environmental Genetics)
  • Ruth Lyons Fund for Cancer Research Challenge Grants