For years we have known that alcohol consumption is one of the risk factors in developing colon cancer particular in women. This week an interesting article was published by Dr. Christopher Forsyth from Rush University Medical Center suggesting that if you have colon cancer and you drink alcohol that colon cancer may spread easier.
Alcohol may play a role in the process of transition from the origin of the colon cancer into the surrounding tissue and spread through the blood system. Alcohol seems to turn on signals allowing this way of spreading called EMT (epithelial–to–mesenchymal transition).
Many research groups are working on understanding better how this process works, particularly what tools the tumor cells have to make the different steps successfully from moving from its original space called epithelial to the surrounding tissue called mesenchym, which is the reason the process is called epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT). If we could understand the exact steps better, we might find treatments to stop the process or even reverse it.
This study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research is the first giving suggestions that our diet may influence that process.
Laboratory tests showed that alcohol activated characteristic of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and demonstrated that the alcohol-treated cells had lost their tight junctions with adjacent cells, a preparation for migrating, as metastatic cells do.