Eat less Red meat It is standard advice for preventing colorectal cancer, but how the cells mutate was not clear, and not all experts were convinced there was a strong relationship.
A new article published in Cancer Discovery found specific patterns of DNA damage triggered by diets rich in red meat, which further positions this food as a carcinogen and heralds the possibility of detecting cancer at an early stage and designing new treatments.
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The experts sequenced DNA data from 900 colorectal cancer patients, drawn from a much larger group of 280,000 healthcare workers who participated in a multi-year study that included surveys of Lifestyle.
People who documented their diet had no way of knowing their future cancer diagnosis, contrary to previous studies that asked people to remember their eating habits after getting sick. The analysis revealed a distinct mutational signature, a pattern that had never been identified before, but was indicative of a type of DNA damage called “alkylation.”
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Not all cells that contain these mutations necessarily become cancerous, and the signature was also present in some samples of healthy colon. The mutation signature was significantly associated with the intake of red meat, both processed and unprocessed, prior to the patient’s cancer diagnosis, but not with the intake of poultry, fish, or other lifestyle factors that were examined.
“With red meat there are chemicals that can cause alkylation”explained Marios Giannakis, an oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who led the study. Specific compounds are nitroso compounds, which can be produced from a substance called hemo It is abundant in red meat, as well as nitrates, which are usually found in processed meat.
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According to the study, patients whose tumors had the highest levels of alkylation damage had 47 percent more Death risk specific for colorectal cancer compared to patients with lower levels of damage.