Background: The excision repair cross-complementation (ERCC) enzyme plays a rate-limiting role in nucleotide excision repair pathway. Microsatellite alterations (MAs) at the long arm of chromosome 19, where are located the ERCC genes, have recently been associated with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) pathogenesis and reduced survival. The aim of the present study was to explore MAs at 19q in DNA from exhaled breath condensate (EBC) of NSCLC patients investigating their possible correlation with the smoking habit, with the biological behaviour of the tumour and their predictive survival power.
Methods: 34 NSCLC patients and 33 healthy controls (19 non-smokers and 14 smokers) were enrolled. All the subjects underwent 19q microsatellite analysis of their EBC. A total of 25 patients were either given a follow-up of at least 102 weeks, or were followed up until death.
Results: No MAs were found in EBC or WB in the healthy non-smokers, while 16% of exhaled MAs were found in healthy smokers and 25% of exhaled MAs in NSCLC patients. The number of MAs resulted related with tobacco consumption and with NSCLC patients' survival.
Conclusions: In conclusion, the study of MAs at 19q resulted feasible in EBC-DNA. These genetic alterations are specific for lung cancer and predictive of survival in NSCLC patients. Our results suggest interesting clinical perspectives for the analysis of exhaled MAs at 19q in NSCLC patients.
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