Excessive consumption of red meat damages the DNA of intestinal cells, thereby provoking the development of cancer, reports the portal Medical Xpress with reference to the work of scientists from the Dana-Farber Cancer Research Institute in Boston (USA).
Scientists sequenced the exome of colorectal cancer cells. An exome is a part of the genome that is represented by exons-the regions directly involved in protein synthesis. Experts have studied more than 900 cases of cancer in patients with eating disorders.
In the end, they found that the cancer cases were linked to DNA damage called alkylation, which had not previously been described for colorectal carcinoma.
The altered tissues were located in the distal part of the intestine, which leads to the rectum, where tumors most often develop. The identified mutations in the genes were also associated with poor patient survival.
A similar mutation process was observed in the tissues of healthy intestines, but in all cases, scientists found a link with high levels of consumption of processed and unprocessed red meat, but not with the consumption of poultry or fish. The authors of the work explained this by the nitroso compounds contained in red meat.
According to scientists, the results of the study will help develop methods for preventing colon cancer, and in the meantime, they recommend following a balanced diet and not abusing red meat.