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Risk of kidney cancer increases with meat

Some people were more vulnerable to certain cancer causing agents due to genetic variants

There are many different methods for cooking meat and a study has found that some of these methods may lead to an increased risk of kidney cancer due to the cancer-causing chemicals formed during the process. United States and other developed nations in healthcare are experiencing an increased incidence of kidney cancer. Diet and genetics may be interrelated, and may be able to influence cancer risk, states a study published in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Kurt Straif of the IARC had stated that “The risk of developing colorectal cancer for an individual because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but the risk certainly is increased with the amount of meat consumed.”

Dr Ian Johnson, Emeritus Fellow, Institute of Food Research, had earlier stated that “There is epidemiological proof for a statistically important link between processed meat consumption and bowel cancer.”

According to the NHS, red meat, when consumed more, increases your risk of bowel (colorectal) cancer. WHO has recently classified red meat as a class I carcinogen, which means that there is strong evidence that red and processed meats cause cancer. This study however states that meat, red and white, increases cancer risk.

The study takes it even further by adding white meat to the list of meats responsible for causing cancer.

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common form of kidney cancer in adults.  Factors related to a western lifestyle, which includes diet that is high in meats, processed foods, and starches, may be resulting in an increased risk of cancer.

To study this further, Xifeng Wu, MD, PhD, from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and his team in Houston, analyzed dietary intake and genetic risk factors. The data was taken from 659 patients, who were diagnosed with RCC and 699 adults who were healthy.

It was seen that the consumption of red and white meat was found more commonly among kidney cancer patients when compared with people who did not have kidney cancer. Further, researchers noticed that consumption of cancer-causing chemicals that form when meat is cooked on high flames or temperatures like barbecuing and pan frying was higher among kidney cancer sufferers. Researchers also found that some people were more vulnerable to certain cancer causing agents due to certain genetic variants.

Dr Wu said, “Our study provides additional evidence for the role of red meat, white meat in kidney cancer. Cooking meat on high temperatures results in the formation of carcinogens, including 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenyl-imidazo (4,5-b) pyridine (PhIP) and amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo(4,5-f) quinoxaline (MeIQx). These can be termed as real culprits in this phenomenon.”

He also added that this is the first study to assess the effect of RCC susceptibility variants. The variants were recognized based on genome-wide association studies.

The study was carried out using data from non-Hispanic whites and the results suggest that encouraging a reduction in the consumption of meat, especially when cooked at high temperatures or over an open flame, may be a viable public policy, and may decrease the risk of developing RCC.

Genetic testing can also classify individuals, who are at a high risk.