A newly discovered potential gene-diet interaction for colorectal cancer was reported today (Thursday, October 24) at the American Society of Human Genetics(ASHG) 2013 meeting in Boston. The interaction may shed light on the statistically significant increased risk of colorectal cancer that is associated with consumption of red and processed meat, the researchers said. “If replicated, our findings have a relevant public health significance because diet is a modifiable risk factor for colorectal cancer,” said Jane Figueiredo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, who presented the study this morning at the ASHG meeting. “It is conceivable that selected individuals at higher risk of colorectal cancer based on genomic profiling could be targeted for screening, diet modification and other prevention strategies,” added Dr. Figueiredo, one of the scientists collaborating in the international NIH-funded Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO). The scientists also determined that the lower colorectal cancer risk associated with vegetable, fruit, and fiber intake also was linked to genetic variants. The possibility that genetic variants may modify an individual’s risk for disease based on diet has not been thoroughly investigated but represents an important new insight into disease development, said Ulrike Peters, Ph.D., M.P.H, who headed the study and is a Member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Public Health Sciences Division in Seattle, Washington.
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