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Scientists Find Inflammation-Cancer Link

Manipulating gene can cut tumor risk, study says

THURSDAY, Aug. 5, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Evidence of a molecular link between inflammation and cancer is outlined in a University of California, San Diego School of Medicine study in the Aug. 6 issue of Cell.

The study also found that deleting a gene that plays a role in the inflammatory process greatly reduces tumor development in mice with a form of gastrointestinal cancer.

The UCSD scientists found the gene I-kappa-B kinase (IKK beta) acts differently in epithelial and myeloid cells to cause cancer. When the IKK beta gene was deleted in mice, there was a nearly 80 percent reduction in cancer incidence and tumor growth, the researchers said.

"We've shown how tumors arise from chronic infection and inflammation that act together with chemical carcinogens," senior author Michael Karin, a professor of pharmacology, said in a prepared statement.

"In response to chronic infection, the interplay between immune cells and the epithelial cells of the intestinal tract, which become genetically transformed to give rise to malignant cells by the carcinogen, results in increased tumor growth and suppression of apoptosis, whose role is to reduce cancer incidence," Karin said.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cancer.

SOURCE: University of California, San Diego news release, Aug. 5, 2004
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