High red meat consumption has been associated with increasing a person’s risk of particular cancers. Another form of the disease has been added to the list.
A recent study has shown that dietary protein and dietary iron, which are found in red meat, join forces to create an intense cancer carcinogen (cancer causing agent) that increases the risks for bladder cancer.
So-called N-nitroso compounds are what’s being formed, and some people are at especially high risk.
The study data was presented October 17 at the 11th Annual AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.
Chelsea Catsburg, a doctoral student at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, made the presentation.
Red meat consumption increases the production of chemicals called biogenic amines. When the amines are in the presence of nitrites, which are found in meats, the result is molecules called nitrosamines – which can cause cancer.
These reactions are known to occur both in the stomach and in the intestines and have been studied in terms of stomach and colorectal cancer.
“However, there is evidence that these reactions also take place in the bladder, particularly in the presence of infection,” Catsburg said in a news release.
Some people are at greater risk of being affected by these biologic changes, including people who can’t reverse the compounds. These individuals have variations in what’s called the RAD52 gene, which is involved in DNA repair.
Carlsburg and colleagues had previously found that heme iron,, which is also found in red meat increase the production of the cancer causing nitrosamines.
Before publication in a peer-reviewed journal, all research is considered preliminary.