Researchers, including a team led by University of Illinois Cancer Center member Jun Sun, PhD, studied human colon cancer tissue samples and animal models and found that exposure to salmonella was linked with colon cancers that developed earlier and grew larger. The new study was published in the journal Cell Reports Medicine.
A news story on UIC Today about the study describes how the authors first looked at data from a Netherlands-based retrospective study of colon cancer patients that found tissue samples taken during routine colon cancer surgery with salmonella antibodies tended to be from people who had worse colon cancer outcomes.
Using salmonella strains isolated from these tissue samples, Sun, who is part of the University of Illinois Cancer Center’s Cancer Biology research program, and her U.S.-based team studied mice with colon cancer that had been exposed to the bacteria. They observed accelerated tumor growth and larger tumors in mice with salmonella exposure. They also saw that there was increased salmonella translocated to the tumors.
“During infection, salmonella hijacks essential host signaling pathways, and these molecular manipulations may cause oncogenic transformation. The current study tells us that more research is needed into the connection between salmonella exposure and colon cancer risk in the USA, and that simply by practicing safe food preparation, we can potentially help to protect ourselves,” said Sun, University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) professor of medicine.