Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A study to understand more about indicators of bowel cancer risk in people who are overweight
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This study looked to see if certain indicators (biomarkers) of cancer risk change after weight loss.
We know that people who are overweight have a slightly increased risk of developing cancer of the large bowel (colon). Researchers wanted to find out why this is.
Inflammation in the bowel increases risk of bowel cancer. People who are overweight have higher blood levels of proteins that control inflammation. Researchers wanted to find out if losing weight decreases bowel inflammation, which may lower bowel cancer risk.
They looked at blood, urine and stool samples to measure levels of inflammation proteins. And they looked at tissue samples to measure the rate that bowel cells divide and die.
The aims of this study were to find out if weight loss is linked to a
- Decrease in bowel inflammation
- Healthier rate of cell growth and death in bowel tissue
Summary of results
The research team found that the level of some factors changed after weight loss.
This study recruited
- 21 people who had a body mass index
BMIof 40 or more (they were morbidly obese)
- 20 people who weren’t obese and had a BMI between 18.5 and 29.9
The people who were obese were due to have an operation to reduce the size of their stomach. This is called a sleeve gastrectomy and helps people lose weight.
The research team looked at the levels of proteins including C-reactive protein (CRP),
When they looked at the bowel cells, they found that cells in people who were obese divided more quickly than those in people who weren’t obese. They also found that this didn’t change in the 6 months after surgery (it does after different type of weight loss surgery called a gastric bypass).
The research team found that some factors which indicate the level of inflammation in the bowel fell when people lost weight after a sleeve gastrectomy. They concluded that this should be looked at in more detail in a larger trial.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Mark Hull
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Medical Research Foundation
University of Leeds