Consumption of red/processed meat and colorectal carcinoma: Possible mechanisms underlying the significant association

Ulf Hammerling (Corresponding Author), Jonas Bergman Laurila, Roland Grafström, Nils-Gunnar Ilbäck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Epidemiology and experimental studies provide an overwhelming support of the notion that diets high in red or processed meat accompany an elevated risk of developing pre-neoplastic colorectal adenoma and frank colorectal carcinoma (CRC). The underlying mechanisms are disputed; thus several hypotheses have been proposed. A large body of reports converges, however, on haem and nitrosyl haem as major contributors to the CRC development, presumably acting through various mechanisms. Apart from a potentially higher intestinal mutagenic load among consumers on a diet rich in red/processed meat, other mechanisms involving subtle interference with colorectal stem/progenitor cell survival or maturation are likewise at play. From an overarching perspective, suggested candidate mechanisms for red/processed meat-induced CRC appear as three partly overlapping tenets: (i) increased N-nitrosation/oxidative load leading to DNA adducts and lipid peroxidation in the intestinal epithelium, (ii) proliferative stimulation of the epithelium through haem or food-derived metabolites that either act directly or subsequent to conversion, and (iii) higher inflammatory response, which may trigger a wide cascade of pro-malignant processes. In this review, we summarize and discuss major findings of the area in the context of potentially pertinent mechanisms underlying the above-mentioned association between consumption of red/processed meat and increased risk of developing CRC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-634
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Volume56
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Dietary patterns
  • fat peroxidation
  • haem
  • morphogenetic pathways
  • N-nitroso compounds
  • nitrosyl-haem
  • red/processed meat
  • intestinal carcinogenesis

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