The fact that alcohol increases the risk of human cancer diseases, well known to scientists for several decades. But how exactly does alcoholic beverages lead to this – a clear answer science gave. A new study conducted by the University of Cambridge, for the first time shed light on this process and proved that alcohol damages DNA, which in turn leads to cancer.
Scientists for quite a long time suggested that acetaldehyde arising from the breakdown of alcohol by the liver, is responsible for increasing chance of occurrence in the body of cancerous tumors. We all know that this stuff is toxic, so there is nothing surprising in this assumption was not. In the new study, the researchers injected into the body of laboratory mice ethanol, and then observed for changes in their body through the sequencing and analysis of DNA. The experiment clearly demonstrated that acetaldehyde damages DNA in stem cells of the blood, which is several times increases the risk of several types of cancer.
“Some types of cancer develop due to DNA damage in stem cells. And although some injuries occur accidentally from a number of other factors, our study demonstrates that the regular consumption of alcohol significantly increases the risk,” says Ketan Patel, lead author of the study.
Scientists also explored how the body copes with a sudden influx of acetaldehyde. Substance is destroyed in the body by several enzymes, called aldehyddehydrogenase (ALDH). Some people have defective ALDH enzymes, so the body cannot effectively cleansed of acetaldehyde after drinking alcohol. The accumulation of this substance in their bodies can lead to even more severe DNA damage. When alcohol was given to mice with defective enzymes, their DNA has been destroyed four times more, than in rodents, with a functional ALDH.
This is the first study clearly describes the mechanism linking alcohol and cancer. At the moment, science is closely linked to seven types of cancer that can result from alcohol use. This is oral cancer, throat cancer, larynx, esophagus, breast, liver and intestines. Further research team of scientists from Cambridge have to find out why these and not other types of cancer are often plagued drinkers. The results of the study can be found in the journal Nature.