Colorectal Cancer Risk Increased With Red and Processed Meat Consumption

Individuals with a common genetic variant who eat red or processed meats may elevate their colorectal cancer risk. This is according to research presented at the American Society of Human Genetics meeting. Additionally, the study investigators claim they have discovered another specific genetic variant that indicates that eating more fruit, vegetables, and fiber may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

For the study, the investigators examined over 9,000 patients suffering from colorectal cancer along with a control group consisting of another 9,000 healthy individuals. They also evaluated 2.7 million genetic sequences to determine whether there was a connection between consumption of red and processed meat and colorectal cancer.

The research demonstrated that patients with the genetic variant rs4143094 – a variant that impacts 1 in 3 people – demonstrate a greatly elevated risk of colorectal cancer linked to intake of red and processed meat.

The investigators speculate on the association with processed meat consumption and claim that when the body digests it, this may trigger an “immunological or inflammatory” response. However, study author Jane Figuerido notes that their results do not indicate that individuals without this genetic variant are in the clear for eating large amounts of red or processed meat.

She adds, “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.”

However, this study has uncovered more than just bad news. The researchers found a positive genetic variant from the study that revealed that people with this variant who eat more fruit and vegetables can lower their risk of colorectal cancer.

Written by Elijah Lamond

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