A recent study has shown that inflammation can create fertile ground for cancer to develop.
Chronic inflammation due to infection or to conditions such as chronic inflammatory bowel disease is associated with up to 25 percent of all cancers.
The study by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James) found that inflammation stimulates a rise in levels of a molecule called micro RNA-155 (miR-155).
This, in turn, causes a drop in levels of proteins involved in DNA repair, resulting in a higher rate of spontaneous gene mutations, which can lead to cancer.
"People have suspected for some time that inflammation plays an important role in cancer, and our study presents a molecular mechanism that explains how it happens," said first author and post-doctoral researcher Esmerina Tili.iR-155 is known to influence blood-cell maturation, immune responses and autoimmune disorders, and high levels of this molecule have been directly linked to the development of leukaemia, breast, lung and gastric cancers.
The findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.