Chronic inflammation of the intestine or stomach can damage DNA, increasing the risk of cancer, MIT scientists have confirmed.
The researchers published evidence of the long-suspected link in the June 2 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI).
In two studies, the researchers found that chronic inflammation accelerated tumor formation in mice lacking the ability to repair DNA damage.
"It's something that was expected but it was never formally proven," said Lisiane Meira, research scientist in MIT's Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) and lead author of the paper.
The results of this work suggest that people with decreased ability to repair DNA damage might be more susceptible to developing cancer associated with chronic inflammation such as ulcerative colitis, Meira said.
Inflammation caused by infectious agents such as Helicobacter pylori and Hepatitis C is known to increase the risk of stomach and liver cancers, respectively. Researchers have long known that inflammation produces cytokines (immune response chemicals that encourage cell proliferation and suppress cell death), which can lead to cancer.
In addition, it was suspected that another effect of the inflammation pathway could also induce cancer. During the inflammatory response to infection, immune cells such as macrophages and neutrophils release reactive oxygen and nitrogen species that can damage DNA.
The known cancer risk from Helicobacter pylori suggests that screening for Helicobacter pylori infection followed by treatment could cut the rate of stomach cancer. Helicobacter pylori is a quite curable infection. Some people find they have it when diagnosed with an ulcer. But others live without without knowing its presence in the stomach is upping their risk of stomach cancer. I've actually thought of getting tested for Helicobacter pylori but have never got off my butt to go ask a doctor for the test.
You can cut your risk of chronic inflammation by getting plenty of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D, a Mediterranean diet, and plenty of exercise. Of course do not smoke or otherwise expose yourself to toxins.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2008 June 03 11:04 PM Biotech Cancer|