May 24, 2024

Study Shows E. coli Toxin Accelerated Colon Cancer in Study Mice

A new study shows that an E. coli toxin accelerated colon cancer in study mice, raising the possibility that about two million new cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed every year around the world could originate from food poisoning, even if the cases are brief and mild. The study was conducted at Johns Hopkins University/Bloomberg School of Public Health and published in the January 12, 2022 issue of the journal Cancer Discovery.

Study Shows E. coli Toxin Accelerated Colon Cancer in Study Mice

Certain E. coli bacteria produce a toxin that can damage DNA in intestinal cells. The novel genotoxin is called UshA. The mice studied are genetically susceptible to developing colon cancer, called ApcMinΔ716/+  types.

UshA triggers DNA damage and initiates tumor transformation during infections both in vitro and in vivo. This type of infection could have a significant impact on the development of colon cancer.

Research conducted before this study suggested that some bacteria that live in the human gut may cause this type of cancer through persistent infections that trigger chronic inflammation. But this is the first time that short-term infections have been thought to play a role in this type of cancer development.

The study also implies that new drugs could be developed that could prevent these cancers by neutralizing the toxin. The study’s authors say that more research is needed to see if this E. coli toxin accelerates colon cancer development, including epidemiological studies, to investigate this potential issue.

And this study shows yet another reason why avoiding E. coli infections is so important to good health. Following basic food safety rules in the kitchen can help you keep you and your family safe by reducing the risk of food poisoning.

The researchers include Yue Liu, Kai Fu, Eric M. Wier, Yifan Lei, Andrea Hodgson, Dongqing Xu, Xue Xia, Dandan Zheng, Hua Ding, Cynthia L. Sears, Jian Yang, and Fengyi Wan


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