Convergence of Genetic, Nutritional and Inflammatory Factors in Gastrointestinal Cancers Academic Article uri icon


  • Gastrointestinal cancers account for 20% of all cancer incidences worldwide. Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of all cancer-related mortality and is increasing in Western societies. Infection and inflammation contribute to 15-20% of all malignancies, and are predisposing risk factors for gastrointestinal cancers. Helicobacter pylori infection is commonly associated with gastric cancers, and chronic inflammation increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 1% per year. Micronutrient status and common genetic variations in human populations modify risk for gastrointestinal cancer. Chronic inflammation promotes carcinogenesis by inducing gene mutations, inhibiting apoptosis, and stimulating an-giogenesis and cell proliferation. Inflammation also induces epigenetic alterations that are associated with cancer development. Two key genes in the inflammatory process, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB), provide a mechanistic link between inflammation and cancer and are targets for chemoprevention. Dietary components, and human genetic variation that affects nutrient utilization, can directly modify inflammatory processes and/or suppress genomic alterations that are the molecular antecedents of cancers. The present report focuses on the convergence of genetic, nutritional, and inflammatory factors in the initiation and progression of gastrointestinal cancers, and the emerging dietary strategies for cancer prevention. © 2007 International Life Sciences Institute.

author list (cited authors)

  • Macfarlane, A. J., & Stover, P. J.

citation count

  • 21

publication date

  • December 2007