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Bladder Cancer Risk Higher for Those Who Eat Well-Done Meat

Conquest - Summer 2010

People who eat meat frequently, especially meat that is well done or cooked at high temperatures, may have a higher chance of developing bladder cancer, according to a recent study.

Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D. (left) 
and Jie Lin, Ph.D.

“It’s well known that meat cooked at high temperatures generates heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that can cause cancer,” says Jie Lin, Ph.D., assistant professor in MD Anderson’s Department of Epidemiology.

HCAs are products of interaction between amino acids, which are the foundation of proteins, and the chemical creatine, which is stored in muscles. They form when muscle meats, such as beef, pork, poultry or fish, are cooked at high temperatures.

With Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Epidemiology, as principal investigator, the study took place over 12 years, using a standardized questionnaire designed by the National Cancer Institute to gather information about each participant’s dietary habits.

The group with the highest red meat consumption had almost 1 1/2 times the risk of developing bladder cancer as those who ate little red meat. Researchers also analyzed each participant’s DNA and discovered that people with seven or more unfavorable genotypes as well as high red meat intake were at almost five times the risk of bladder cancer.

Reported in April at the 101st annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center