Global Health Asia-Pacific July 2022 - Page 32

Cancer News

Common bacteria may be responsible for some colorectal cancers

The discovery could improve screening and prevention of the disease

Awell-known pathogen that causes serious diarrhoeal infections , clostridioides difficile ( C . difficile ), could also drive colorectal cancer in young populations , according to a new US study , raising hopes for improving our ability to prevent the malignancy .

“ The uptick of individuals under the age of 50 being diagnosed with colorectal cancer in recent years has been shocking . We found that this bacterium appears to be a very unexpected contributor to colon malignancy , the process by which normal cells become cancer ,” said Dr Cynthia Sears of the Bloomberg Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in a press release .
After observing that many patients with colorectal cancer had collections of bacteria in the colon , the researchers infected mice with several types of these pathogens to see whether they could cause cancer . Several experiments showed that C . difficile alone was able to drive disease growth in lab animals by turning on genes that promote proliferation of malignant cells while turning off others that protect against them .
If the causal link holds up , the discovery might help identify people at risk of colorectal cancer by screening them for C . difficile infection , a common condition with about 500,000 annual cases in the US , and potentially prevent the malignancy by treating the infection .
“ While this link between C . difficile and colorectal cancer needs to be confirmed in prospective , longitudinal cohorts , developing better strategies and therapeutics to reduce the risk of C . difficile primary infection and recurrence could both spare patients the immediate consequences of severe diarrhoea and potentially limit colorectal cancer risk later on ,” co-author Dr Julia Drewes , assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins , said in a press release .
Breast cancer spreads faster at night
This could indicate specific timeframes for improved diagnosis and treatment

It ’ s well-known that some cancer cells tend to travel around the body to stimulate the growth of additional tumours , but now new research suggests this process develops mostly at night in breast malignancies , offering an important clue to potentially improve their management .

��hen the affected person is asleep , the tumour awakens ,” said study leader Dr Nicola Aceto , professor of molecular oncology at ETH Zurich , in a press release .
Primary cancers shed some of their cells into the bloodstream , which allows them to reach faraway organs to form new malignant tumours called metastases . By analysing 30 female patients and mouse models , the researchers observed that tumours released a greater number of such cells during the night while also having the ability to divide more quickly when patients were asleep , thus increasing the risk of metastases .
“ Our research shows that the escape of circulating cancer cells from the original tumour is controlled by hormones such as melatonin , which determine our rhythms of day and night ,” said Dr Zoi Diamantopoulou , the study ’ s lead author and a postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich , in a press release .
The discovery signals that the time of day when a cancer or blood sample is taken for diagnosis could be important to get actionable results . The next step of the research is to figure out if therapies can be improved when patients are treated at different times .
30 JULY 2022 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com