A recent study at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill that was published in the Jan. 15 Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that two genes - C282Y and H63D, which are linked to the iron overload disorder hemochromatosis may also lead to an increased risk of developing colon cancer. For the research, the genes of more than 1,300 subjects were studied, out of which, more than 400 already had colon cancer, and were matched with healthy controls. Researchers also gathered information about possible environmental factors such as iron supplementation, red-meat consumption and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory use. They found that subjects with at least one copy of either of the genes were 40% more likely to have colon cancer than those without. They also found that cancer risk increased with age and greater iron intake.
The researchers who believe that at least 15% of the population carries at least one copy of the mutated gene, said that this study could lead to improved colon cancer screening protocols.