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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Cancer Channel
Reported February 28, 2013

Stay Fit to Avoid Colorectal Cancer

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- It is known that being obese or inactive raises an individual’s risk of colorectal cancer, as well as many other health issues. However, only recently has a study been able to link physical activity to a specific molecular subtype of cancer. 

In the study, information from over 100,000 women from the Nurses' Health Study and over 45,000 men in the Health Professionals Study was collected. The individuals’ BMI and physical activity levels were recorded.

Although 2,263 study participants were diagnosed with colorectal cancer at the follow-up, researchers turned their focus to the 861 patients that had tumor CTNNB1 expression data.

“We used a biomarker named CTNNB1, which is a molecule implicated in cancer and obesity, to divide patients into two groups, CTNNB1-positive and CTNNB1-negative," researcher Shuji Ogino, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, was quoted as saying.
Once participants were divided into either CTNNB1-positive or CTNNB1-negative groups, researchers discovered that a 5.0 kg/m2 increase in BMI can be linked to a 34% higher risk for CTNNB1-negative cancer and increasing the amount of physical activity lowered the individual’s risk.

On the flip side, the risk CTNNB1-positive cancer seemed to be unaffected by physical activity and BMI.

Study researchers hope that this new insight will help others understand what a significant impact physical activity can have for certain individuals’ risk of disease.

"If physicians are able to identify individuals who are prone to develop CTNNB1-negative cancer, then it would be possible to strongly recommend physical activity," Dr. Ogino said.

SOURCE: Cancer Research, February 2013

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