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Blood clotting and bowel cancer risk
Date:6/6/2011

ith bowel cancer prevalence was found by the research team for a particular gene variant of clotting factor XIII: People with this mutation are slightly more rarely affected by venous thrombosis than those who carry the factor XIII standard version. Now the DKFZ team has shown that their colorectal cancer risk is also 15 percent lower. For the other four gene variants studied the team found no connection with bowel cancer risk.

It is known today that coagulation and carcinogenesis are associated. Thus, the interplay of all coagulation (clotting) factors leads to the formation of active thrombin, which, in turn, activates hemostatic fibrin. However, thrombin also contributes to the formation of new blood vessels and is able to dissolve the extracellular matrix, which is the adhesive that keeps cells together. Thrombin may thus make it easier for cancer cells to invade surrounding tissue.

"It is interesting that not every gene variant that increases the tendency to clot automatically also increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer. It also makes a difference whether the gene variant is present on both chromosomes or just on one of them. We therefore have to analyze in detail which clotting factors affect cancer risk and in what manner," explained study head Hermann Brenner. The knowledge of these connections is the first prerequisite for finding out whether and for whom drugs that affect blood clotting may prevent bowel cancer.


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Contact: Dr. Sibylle Kohlstdt
s.kohlstaedt@dkfz.de
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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