Identifying Molecular Targets of Lifestyle Modifications in Colon Cancer Prevention
One in four deaths in the United States is cancer-related, and colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-associated deaths. Screening strategies are utilized but have not reduced disease incidence or mortality. In this regard, there is an interest in cancer preventive strategies focusing on lifestyle intervention, where specific etiologic factors involved in cancer initiation, promotion, and progression could be targeted. For example, exposure to dietary carcinogens, such as nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons influences colon carcinogenesis.
Furthermore, dietary deficiencies could alter sensitivity to genetic damage and influence carcinogen metabolism contributing to CRC. High alcohol consumption increases the risk of mutations including the fact that acetaldehyde, an ethanol metabolite, is classified as a group 1 carcinogen. Tobacco smoke exposure is also a risk factor for cancer development; approximately 20% of CRCs are associated with smoking.
Additionally, obese patients have a higher risk of cancer development, which is further supported by the fact that physical activity decreases CRC risk by 55%. Similarly, chronic inflammatory conditions also increase the risk of CRC development.