Learning you have something called ROS1+ NSCLC might leave you with a lot of questions. Here we’ll help explain a bit more about what this means and what it means for you and your cancer treatment.
NSCLC stands for 'non-small cell lung cancer'. This is the most common type of lung cancer – about 85% of all lung cancers are NSCLCs.1 If you’d like to learn more about NSCLC, click here.
What ROS1 means is a little more complicated. First of all, we need to learn about something called 'DNA'.
Your body is full of trillions of building blocks called cells, and almost every single cell contains something called DNA. DNA is like a set of instructions that tell your cells what to do. DNA can tell cells to do things like move around, grow and multiply, make important molecules that your body needs, and even to die.2
Normally the your DNA helps keep your cells multiplying and dying at a similar speed, so that they exist in a careful balance.3 But sometimes the DNA changes, and that balance is affected. For example, cells can start to grow too fast and eventually make a tumour.2
ROS1+ means that you have a change in a small part of your DNA (the small part is called a ‘gene’) that makes a protein called ROS1. Not a lot is known about what exactly ROS1 does normally. But when the ROS1 gene is changed, the cells in your lungs start to grow and multiply out of control, and eventually they build up and become tumours.3
Only about 1% to 2% of people have a change in their ROS1 gene.4 We don’t know exactly why the DNA changes in somebody with ROS1+ NSCLC, but you can learn about some risk factors for lung cancer generally further down the page.