Cigarette smoking is responsible for lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the leading cause of death from cancer and the second-leading cause of death in the United States. In the United States, 46 million people smoke, with an equal number of former smokers. Moreover, 20–25% of current or former smokers will develop either disease, and smokers with one disease are at increased risk for developing the other. There are no tools for predicting risk of developing either disease; no accepted tools for early diagnosis of potentially curable lung cancer; and no tools for defining molecular pathways or molecular subtypes of these diseases, for predicting rate of progression, or for assessing response to therapy at a biochemical or molecular level. This review discusses current studies and the future potential of measuring global gene expression in epithelial cells that are in the airway field of injury and of using the genomic information derived to begin to answer some of the above questions.

Keyword(s): COPDfield of injurylung cancer

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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