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Home Industry News Genetic link for obesity, colon cancer ‘exposed’

Genetic link for obesity, colon cancer ‘exposed’

1st October 2008

Scientists have hailed the landmark three-way connection between genetics, obesity and colon cancer.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Jama) says the discovery could lead to improved testing for colon cancer.

The research focuses on a gene called ADIPOQ that results in the formation of a fat hormone called adiponectin. It shows those who inherit a common genetic variant of ADIPOQ carry up to 30 per cent reduced risk of colon cancer compared to others.

Those identified without the gene variant or those who have unhealthy blood levels of adiponectin may benefit from early colorectal testing. Additional studies are needed to confirm whether those without the variant benefit from cancer-prevention lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.

One-third of people with colon cancer have a clear family history of the disease, and now scientists are close to finding the exact DNA sequences or mutations within the ADIPOQ gene that influence colon cancer risk.

Boris Pasche, director of haematology and oncology at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and lead study author, said: “Our hope is that we can significantly improve the screening and early detection for this disease, and open new avenues for better understanding the genetic and lifestyle factors that influence colon cancer risk.”

Obesity and colon cancer have both previously been found to be influenced by genetics, but today’s Jama study is the first to make a three-way scientific connection.

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