Two seemingly separate influences have been found to promote colorectal cancer when they occur together.
New research published by journal Nature Medicine revealed that while chronic inflammation occurs with DNA methylation, it promotes the development of cancer by blocking the genes that would normally fight it.
The findings could help the treatment of colorectal cancer with the possibility of combination therapies.
Senior author Raymond DuBois, provost and executive vice president at MD Anderson, explained that scientists knew that chronic inflammation increases cancer risk and progression, while it was also known that in colorectal cancer, tumour-suppressing genes are shutdown.
"However, nobody had made a molecular connection between these inflammatory mediators and changes in gene expression or silencing of genes through affects on DNA methylation," he added.
On experiments with mice, while the use of either anti-inflammatory drug or a demethylating agent shrunk the number and size of tumour, combined use had the most significant impact.
Find the nearest Barchester care home.