Nav: Home

Bug that causes stomach cancer could play a role in colorectal cancer

October 09, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. - A bacterium known for causing stomach cancer might also increase the risk of certain colorectal cancers, particularly among African Americans, according to a study led by Duke Cancer Institute researchers.

The finding, published online Oct. 5 in the journal Gastroenterology, describes an association between antibodies to H. pylori bacteria and an increased risk of colorectal cancers, although it does not establish the bacteria as a definitive cause; those studies are ongoing.

But in an analysis of more than 4,000 colorectal cancer cases culled from large, diverse cohort studies, the researchers found a significant correlation between colorectal cancer incidence and those who had been infected with a virulent strain of H. pylori that is especially common among African Americans.

"The link between infection and cancer is intriguing, particularly if we can eradicate it with a simple round of antibiotics," said lead author Meira Epplein, Ph.D., co-leader of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at Duke Cancer Institute. "Our study provides strong evidence that we need to pursue this research to establish a definitive cause-and-effect."

Epplein and colleagues collected data from 10 large regional and national studies, including the Southern Community Cohort Study, the Nurses Health Study, the Women's Health Initiative and the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study-II, among others.

They analyzed blood samples from more than 8,400 ethnically and regionally diverse study participants -- half who went on to develop colorectal cancer and the other half with no such diagnosis.

The researchers found that H. pylori infections were equally common in both the cancer and non-cancer group, with 4 in 10 patients in both groups testing positive for exposure to the bacterium.

But stark racial differences also appeared. White patients had below average H. pylori infection rates, and Asian Americans had average rates. For black and Latino patients, however, the rates were much higher. Among African Americans, 65 percent of the non-cancer patients and 71 percent of the colorectal cancer patients had H. pylori antibodies; among Latinos, 77 percent of the non-cancer group and 74 percent of the cancer group had antibodies.

Further analysis showed that antibodies to four H. pylori proteins were most often present among the different ethnic groups with colorectal cancer. One H. pylori protein in particular, VacA, had the strongest association with increased odds of colorectal cancer among the African American patients in the study, and, specifically, high levels of antibodies to this protein were associated with colorectal cancer incidence in both African Americans and Asian Americans.

"It was surprising to find VacA antibodies increased the odds of colorectal cancer in African Americans and Asian Americans, and not in whites and Latinos," Epplein said. "This is a big question - are people harboring different bacteria based on genetic origin or heritage? This is part of what we need to figure out."

Epplein said additional studies might also determine whether antibodies to the H. pylori VacA protein could serve as a marker of colorectal cancer risk if it isn't causing the cancer directly.
-end-
In addition to Epplein, study authors include Julia Butt, Matthew G. Varga, William J. Blot, Lauren Teras, Kala Visvanathan, Loïc Le Marchand, Christopher Haiman, Yu Chen, Ying Bao, Howard D. Sesso, Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Gloria Y.F. Ho PhD, Lesley E. Tinker, Richard M. Peek, John D. Potter, Timothy L. Cover, Laura H. Hendrix, Li-Ching Huang, Terry Hyslop, Caroline Um, Francine Grodstein, Mingyang Song, Anne Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, Sonja Berndt, Allan Hildesheim, Tim Waterboer and Michael Pawlita.

The National Cancer Institute funded the study (R01 CA190428); additional support for the cohorts is listed in the journal manuscript. The development of H. pylori serology was funded in part by the Joint Initiative for Innovation and Research of the German Helmholtz Association.

Duke University Medical Center

Related Cancer Articles:

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.
Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.
Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.