Faulty sex chromosome 'could hold key to bowel cancer development'

28 May 2012

British scientists have discovered a sex chromosome could be altering how bowel cancer differs in development between men and women.

Researchers at the University of Oxford and Edinburgh University were led by The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) to determine how DNA code can enhance the risk of bowel cancer.

During the analysis, the scientists pinpointed that an alteration on the x-chromosome may shed light on the development of the disease.

According to researchers, the faulty version of the x-chromosome is often hidden due to a healthy alternative in women. Men do not have this option though, with this gender only having one copy of the x-chromosome in their DNA.

Professor Richard Houlston, of the ICR, commented: "This may help explain why bowel cancer is slightly more common in men. Ultimately, it could also help us target screening to those who are more at risk of the disease."

Bowel cancer is currently the third most common form of cancer in Britain, according to Cancer Research UK, with 41,142 cases reported in 2009 alone.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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