According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer type, after breast, lung, and prostate.
In 2017, the NCI estimated 135,430 new cases of this cancer, with more than 50,000 people dying from the disease.
The link between the gut bacteria and the risk of colorectal cancer has received more and more attention in recent years.
For instance, early last year, Medical News Today reported on a study showing how different diets alter the bacteria in our guts — which, in turn, influences the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
New research deepens our understanding of the connection between gut bacteria and the risk of developing colorectal cancer and various infections.
The new study — led by Dr. Patrick Varga-Weisz, from the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, United Kingdom — shows how gut bacteria can affect genes, which then influences disease risk.
Dr. Varga-Weisz and team carried out experiments with mice and human culture cells, focusing on the role of molecules called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in disease prevention.
SCFAs are produced by gut bacteria during the digestion of fruits and vegetables. They can move from the gut bacteria into our gut lining cells, affecting our genes and our cells’ behavior.