How Inflammation Causes Cancer

Chronic inflammation, a source of age-related cellular and molecular damage, is linked to most of the common age-related conditions. It might be thought of as a form of rust that hastens the failure of the machinery. Here, researchers show how inflammation causes one specific form of cancer: "evated levels of a single proinflammatory cytokine, an immune system protein called interleukin-1 beta (IL-1beta), can start the progression towards stomach cancer. ... accumulation of IL-1beta, which is induced by infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) in the gastrointestinal tract, is a significant contributor to the onset of stomach cancer ... We show in this study that IL-1beta works by activating a type of white blood cell known as myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), which in our study appeared to be strongly pro-inflammatory. Blocking IL-1beta or the myeloid (MDSCs) cells may represent a potential strategy to prevent stomach cancer ... these findings help to explain why only a small percentage of those with H. pylori infection go onto develop stomach cancer - a genetic predisposition for high expression levels of proinflammatory cytokines." So a ugly feedback loop of accelerating inflammation and damage is kicked off by an initial event and predisposition to reach the threshold that will activate that loop.

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/cumc-rdh110508.php

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