Gene variant raises cancer risk from processed meat
People with a particular gene may have an increased risk of colorectal cancer from consuming processed meat, according to new research.
Scientists from the University of Southern California conducted a study of more than 18,000 people from the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe—approximately half of whom had colorectal cancer and half without cancer. The researchers analyzed data on genetic variants and dietary patterns that may help explain risk factors for colorectal cancer. After analyzing 2.7 million genetic variants, they found a significant link between a particular genetic variant and processed meat in the participants with colorectal cancer. This particular gene, researchers said, affects approximately one in three people.
Previous studies have identified about 30 genetic variants in people with colorectal cancer but have not examined how specific foods may affect the activity of those genes. The findings, published in PLOS Genetics, suggest that the mechanisms by which diet may modify genetic variants and disease risk may be an important new area of research when it comes to disease development. The researchers said they hope that their findings will lead to the development of new targeted cancer prevention strategies.