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Mechanisms of pro-cancer effect of meat consumption: a review  [2012]

Corpet , Denis(auteur de correspondance) (INRA , St-Martin-Du-Touch (France). UMR 1331 Toxicologie Alimentaire)

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Recent meta-analyses of epidemiological studies show that high consumersof red meat, either fresh or processed, are at increased risk of colorectal cancer.The risk increase is significant but modest (+25%) and the French nationalcancer institute recommends since 2009 to eat less than 500g red meat perweek and to limit as much as possible the intake of high-fat or salty delimeats. Also, experimental studies have proved that beef meat and cured porkmeat promote colon carcinogenesis in rats. Some compounds present in meatsuch as heme iron, the curing-agent nitrite, heat-induced mutagens (heterocyclicaromatic amines) or fat in excess could be considered as colorectalcancer promoters. Heme iron amplifies not only lipid peroxidation and cytotoxicalkenal production, but also formation of carcinogenic N-nitroso-compounds,in synergy with nitrites from cured meat. The carcinogenic effect of heterocyclicaromatic amines is mostly seen in specific genotypes with a high metaboliccapacity. Finally, fatty meat may non-specifically promote cancer dueto caloric excess.