The risk of colorectal cancer associated with processed meat was significantly higher among people with the genetic variant rs4143094, the study shows. This variant is located on the same chromosome 10 region that includes GATA3, a transcription factor gene previously linked to several forms of cancer. The transcription factor encoded by this gene normally plays a role in the immune system, but carries this genetic variant in about 36 percent of the population.
The researchers speculate that the digestion of processed meat may promote an immunological or inflammatory response that may trigger tumor development. The GATA3 transcription factor normally would help suppress the immunological or inflammatory response. However, if the GATA3 gene region contains a genetic variant, it may encode a dysregulated transcription factor that impacts its ability to suppress the response.
But other genetic vatiants may be beneficial: On chromosome 8, another statistically significant diet-gene interaction was found in variant rs1269486. For people with this variant, eating your fruits and veggies may be even better for you when it comes to colorectal cancer risk, the research shows.
The study is part of an ongoing collaboration among multiple institutions worldwide, the international NIH-funded Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO).
"GECCO aims to continue to discover additional colorectal cancer-related variants by investigating how genetic variants are modified by other environmental and lifestyle risk factors, including biomarkers as well as how they influence patient treatment response and survival," Peters said, emphasizing how much further research is required to uncover the specific mechanisms by which genes modulate the intake of certain foods on colorectal cancer risk.
|Contact: Suzanne Wu|
University of Southern California