Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Alcohol may increase cancer risk

Alcohol may increase cancer risk

Specifically, they looked at acetaldehyde, a harmful chemical produced when the body processes alcohol. The researchers gave ethanol to genetically modified mice and found that alcohol causes cancer by scrambling DNA in cells.

"Drinking alcohol can damage DNA in stem cells and increase a person's risk of cancer, according to a new study". But in this study, researchers used mice to demonstrate that prolonged exposure to alcohol leads to permanent DNA destruction.

"Drinking alcohol damages blood * a class="glink tt_basic" href="/page_1716.asp" rel="*page.asp?obj_id=1716&cAct=SIMP" *stem cells by altering their * a class="glink tt_basic" href="/page_1676.asp" rel="*page.asp?obj_id=1676&cAct=SIMP" *DNA, raising the risk of developing cancer, scientists have found.

Malcolm Alison, Professor of Stem Cell Biology at the Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, added: "Drinkers beware: most of our organs and tissues have stem cells, immortal cells that replenish cells lost through the likes of old age throughout our lives".

Recently, researchers from MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, United Kingdom, set out to gain a clearer picture of the alcohol-cancer relationship using whole animals.

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Drinking alcohol doesn't just damage the liver and kidneys - turns out it could increase cancer risks and damage DNA as well.

According to the latest study about the effects of alcohol on the human body, the findings are shocking. These new findings therefore help us to understand how drinking alcohol increases the risk of developing 7 types of cancer including common types like bowel and breast cancer. The first layer is a protective enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2), which prevents build-ups of acetaldehyde, and the second repairs the DNA damage. But some people lack these enzymes, particularly those from East Asia, causing what is known as Asian flush.

"It's important to remember that alcohol clearance and DNA fix systems are not flawless, and alcohol can still cause cancer in different ways - even in people whose defence mechanisms are intact", Patel said. But these mechanisms do not always work; some people have mutations that render them ineffective. So, when they drink, acetaldehyde builds up which causes a flushed complexion, and also leads to them feeling unwell. However, if more alcohol is consumed than the ALDH2 can deal with, then excess acetaldehyde can damage DNA.

The research was funded by Cancer Research UK, Wellcome and the Medical Research Council.

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