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Gene and Diet Deficient in B Vitamin Folate Linked to Increased Colon Cancer Risk

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The new study, published in the March issue of the peer-reviewed journal Cancer Research, provides evidence that a combination of folate deficiency and reduced expression of the SHMT1 gene, which is required for accurate DNA synthesis, boosts the risk of colon cancer in a mouse model. The study indicates that the SHMT1 gene may be a factor in itself, and also demonstrates how dietary folate, a B vitamin, may interact with an individual’s genetic make-up to increase colon cancer risk.

“Nutrition and genetics work together to contribute to the creation of cancer cells and, based on the similarity of folate metabolism in mice and humans, it is likely that this gene is associated with human colon cancer,” said Patrick Stover, professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences and the senior author of the paper.

“Molecular antecedents that promote development of sporadic colon cancer include DNA damage. Lack of critical nutrients increases rates of DNA damage. Therefore, lack of folate has the potential to induce this damage that ultimately results in transforming normal cells to cancer cells,” said Stover.colorectal-cancer-couple

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer screening for is recommended for all individuals over 50; however, close to 40 percent of the U.S. population in this age group does not take this precautionary method to protect against colon cancer.

Individuals who choose not to pursue colonoscopies may want to ensure their diets contain adequate amounts of folate, Stover said.

The U.S. recommended daily allowance for folate is 400 micrograms per day. Foods that are rich in folate include many fruits and leafy green vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. In addition to the many vegetables, fruits and beans that are naturally good sources of folate, many foods are fortified with folic acid.


Last modified on Friday, 09 December 2011 05:22
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