According to a latest research from the University of Dundee, deleting a single gene may possibly increase the average number of tumours in the bowel by 50-fold.
Bowel cancer is known to be the third most common cancer in the UK. It was estimated that every year more than 37,500 people are diagnosed with the disease and more than 100 people every day. Additionally, bowel cancer seems to be the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK after lung cancer.
At least 10 percent of bowel cancers in the UK are believed to have been related to being overweight or obese. Furthermore, a diet with lots of red and processed meat may perhaps increase the chances of developing bowel cancer whereas a fibre-rich diet reduces the risk.
For the purpose of better understanding this criterion, researchers were believed to have removed a gene from mice already genetically prone to the development of tumours in the small intestine. Apparently, this gene was called as enzyme glutathione transferase Pi (GSTP).
It is already known that the GST family of genes seems to protect the body against harmful chemicals. In earlier researches by the same team, an absence of GSTP in mice was noted to have led to raised tumour development in the lung and skin after exposure to environmental chemicals such as those found in tobacco smoke. However this research shows that GSTP could also protect against cancer in other ways.
Lead researcher, Professor Roland Wolf, a Cancer Research UK scientist based in the Biomedical Research Institute at the University of Dundee said that, “These data provide fascinating new insights into a gene which can affect the development of bowel cancer possibly by affecting inflammatory responses.”
Co-researcher, Dr Colin Henderson, one more Dundee-based Cancer Research UK scientist commented saying that, “We are very excited that this research will help us study how bowel cancer could be prevented and allow new treatments to be tested.
The researchers found that lack of GSTP seems to have led to a 50-fold increase in the number of tumours called adenomas. These tumours appear to be present significantly in the same region of the bowel as the human cancer is found. Moreover, adenomas are known to be benign, pre-cancerous tumours. The intense change in tumour incidence could perhaps be related to increased inflammation in the bowel.
Few researches suggest that GSTP levels could possibly be boosted by chemicals found in vegetables like broccoli. If this can be confirmed in humans, it may suggest another way of decreasing the chances of bowel cancer.
The findings of the research have been published in the journal, Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.