New study: why obesity can cause colon cancer

Decoded new risk factor for tumor growth

In Germany, colorectal cancer is the second most common tumor in women and the third most common in men. If you compare the number of new cases in Germany with other countries, the international comparison shows that we occupy one of the top positions in this country. Researchers in Cologne were able to assign dietary and lifestyle habits a fundamental role in the development of colorectal cancer. According to the study results, there is a clear connection between being overweight and tumor growth.

Obese people have an increased risk of developing colon cancer. This was determined by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research in Cologne in the course of a study project. The researchers uncovered detailed relationships between the existence of overweight and an increased risk of colon cancer. These basics can serve as possible targets for new therapies. The study results were recently published in the renowned journal "Nature Communications".

How does the connection come about?

"When the body has to store more and more excess fat, a stress reaction occurs in the adipose tissue," explains study leader Dr. Thomas Wunderlich in a press release on the study results. This stress response alarms the body's immune system, which in turn can cause inflammation in the fatty tissue.

Being overweight puts the body in constant stress

Persistent obesity and obesity put the body in a state of constant stress, as the expert reports. The resulting inflammation could spread throughout the body through the blood. Ultimately, this leads to changes in the immune system. "Cancer cells are no longer fought, but promote their survival and thus tumor growth," summarizes Wunderlich.

Just because someone is fat, you don't automatically get cancer

"Just because you are fat, you don't get cancer by a long way," says the first author of the Dr. Claudia Wunderlich. But if degenerated cells form in the body as a result of being overweight, this favors tumor growth.

New targets for therapies

In addition to the identified relationships, the results also provide new approaches for future therapies. "Using mouse models, we were able to work out specific points of attack for possible therapeutic approaches in humans," summarizes the expert. The researchers have already successfully reduced the risk of developing the disease in the overweight mice.

Already tested on overweight mice

In experiments on genetically modified mice, the research team eliminated a special population of immune cells. In addition, the changed genetics of the animals prevented changes in the immune defense from taking place with a high-fat diet. Both methods led to a decrease in inflammation and an increase in the control of degenerated cells, which ultimately also reduced the development of colon cancer. (vb)

Author and source information

Video: Preventing Colorectal Cancer (August 2021).