Red and processed meat consumption was significantly associated with colorectal cancer risk in patients who had a common gene mutation, researchers recently an-nounced. The variant is located on the same chromosome 10 region as GATA3, “a transcription factor gene previously linked to several forms of cancer” that normally plays a role in the immune system, Figueiredo said in a presentation at the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium in Boston, Mass. Possible mechanisms of action include a gut microbiome that differs by dietary habits, or it may be possible that processed meat triggers a pro-tumorigenic inflammatory or immunological response, the authors suggested.
My Take: If confirmed, these findings have public health significance, as diet is a modifiable risk factor for colorectal cancer. We are getting closer to the day when we can advise individuals on their personal risk factors for particular cancers. It may be that some may consume meat without harm, while others may want to significantly scale back consumption, given their personal genetics. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.
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Reference: Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium; Figueiredo J, et al “Genome-wide analysis highlights gene interaction with processed meat and vegetable intake for colorectal cancer risk” GECCO 2013.