A common genetic variant that affects 1 in 3 people significantly increases the risk of colorectal cancer from the consumption of red meat and processed meat, according to a study presented today at the annual American Society of Human Genetics 2013 meeting, the largest gathering of human geneticists in the world.
In addition to identifying a gene that raises risk for colorectal cancer from eating red or processed meat, the study the first to identify the interactions of genes and diet on a genome-wide scale also reveals another specific genetic variation that appears to modify whether eating more vegetables, fruits and fiber actually lowers your colorectal cancer risk.
"Diet is a modifiable risk factor for colorectal cancer. Our study is the first to understand whether some individuals are at higher or lower risk based on their genomic profile. This information can help us better understand the biology and maybe in the future lead to targeted prevention strategies," said lead author Jane Figueiredo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
"But we are not saying that if you don't have the genetic variant that you should eat all the red meat you'd like," Figueiredo added. "People with the genetic variant allele have an even higher increased risk of colorectal cancer if they consume high levels of processed meat, but the baseline risk associated with meat is already pretty bad."
We've all heard reports about how certain foods may lower or raise the risk for certain diseases, such as cancer. But how our personal genetic variations modify the effects of diet on disease has not yet been thoroughly investigated, said senior author Ulrike Peters, Ph.D., M.P.H, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's Public Health Sciences Division.
The researchers systematically searched the more than 2.7 million genetic sequences for interactions with consumption of red and process
|Contact: Suzanne Wu|
University of Southern California