A healthy lifestyle can lower the incidence of cancer in people at high genetic risk

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August 24, 2021

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The program was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province, National Key Research and Development Program of China, High-Level Talents Cultivation Project of Jiangsu Province, CAMS Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences and National Science Foundation for Postdocs of China . The authors do not report any relevant financial information.

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According to study results published in Cancer Research, a healthy lifestyle can reduce the overall incidence of cancer even in people identified by a personalized indicator as being at high genetic risk.

“Polygenic risk scores measure the genetic predisposition of individuals to a particular type of cancer and have shown in previous studies that they can predict the incidence of site-specific cancer. In our current study, we were very curious about how the overall genetic cancer risk for individuals could be measured. ” Guangfu Jin, PhD, Professor in the epidemiology department of Nanjing Medical University in China, Healio said. “That’s why we created an indicator – the so-called Cancer Polygenic Risk Score – to measure the overall genetic risk for all types of cancer. In addition, we have evaluated the extent to which a high genetic risk of overall cancer can be compensated for by a healthy lifestyle. “

A healthy lifestyle can reduce the overall incidence of cancer even in people who are shown to be at high genetic risk by a personalized indicator.

Data derived from Zhu M, et al. Krebs Res. 2021; doi: 10.1158 / 0008-5472.CAN-21-0836.

Jin and colleagues have pooled data from 442,501 people who were included in genome-wide association studies. They calculated individual polygenic risk scores for 16 cancers in men and 18 cancers in women, combined the scores into a single measure of cancer risk, and generated separate polygenic cancer risk scores for men and women.

The investigators classified the lifestyles as unfavorable, medium, or cheap based on smoking status, alcohol consumption, physical activity, BMI, and diet.

The results showed that men in the highest quintile of the polygenic risk score for cancer were almost twice as likely as those in the lowest quintile of risk of being diagnosed with cancer at their last follow-up in 2015 or 2016. Women in the top quintile were 1.6 times more likely than those in the bottom quintile to develop cancer.

“In addition, more than 97% of people had a high genetic risk for at least one type of cancer, even though that was defined by the top quintile of genetic risk for a particular cancer,” said Jin.

The HR for overall cancer risk in men was 1.27 (95% CI, 1.21-1.34) for those with moderate genetic risk vs. low risk and 1.91 (95% CI, 1.81-2.02 ) for those at high risk vs. low risk. The researchers observed a similar trend in women (HR for medium versus low risk = 1.21; 95% CI 1.16-1.27; HR for high versus low risk = 1.62; 95% CI) KI 1.54-1.71).

Compared to people with low genetic risk and a favorable lifestyle, the HR for people with high genetic risk and poor lifestyle was 2.99 (95% CI, 2.45–3.64) for men and 2.38 (95% – KI, 2.05-2.76) for women.

The standardized 5-year cancer incidence in people with a high genetic risk but a favorable lifestyle decreased from 7.23% to 5.51% in men and from 5.77% to 3.69% in women.

Guangfu Jin, PhD

Guangfu Jin

“Although other researchers performed polygenic risk score analyzes for pan cancer, they typically focused on the predictive effects of site-specific cancer in multiple cancers rather than trying to construct an indicator of genetic risk for the Reflecting total cancer. “Said Jin. “To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to provide compelling evidence that polygenic cancer risk scores can be used to assess genetic risk for overall cancer risk.”

Although the study involved British biobank participants from different ethnic backgrounds, the generalizability of the results to non-European populations, if available, should be further assessed, Jin added.

“We plan to develop an effective genetic indicator of total cancer in various population groups, such as the Chinese population,” said Jin. “In addition, it is also important to assess the link between the overall genetic risk for cancer in other ways, for example through screening, therapy and prognosis.”

For more informations:

Guangfu Jin, PhD, can be contacted at The Affiliated Cancer Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 101 Longmian Road, Nanjing 211166, China; Email: [email protected].

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