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Antibiotic use linked to heightened bowel cancer risk

Antibiotics substantially alter the gut microbiome, but little is known about how this impacts on the risk of medical conditions affecting the GI tract.

New research published in the journal Gut has shed some light in this area, with findings suggesting a link between oral antibiotic use and risk of two types of cancer.

The study analysed UK medical data on nearly 30,000 patients who had developed colon or rectal cancer, and roughly 137,000 patients who didn’t develop these cancers.

Those who developed colon cancer were more likely to have been prescribed antibiotics even if use was minimal, particularly in the proximal colon and with antibiotics targeting anaerobes. Penicillins increased this risk more than any other class.

Conversely, antibiotics use was associated with a lower risk of rectal cancer, particularly when use has exceeded 60 days and for the tetracycline class.

Although this is an observational study and didn’t capture all potentially contributing lifestyle factors for all participants, the researchers claim the results highlight the importance of judicious antibiotic use by clinicians.

>> Read the original article here

Source: Medical Xpress

 

Reference

Zhang J, Haines C, Watson AJM, Hart AR, Platt MJ, Pardoll DM, et al. Oral antibiotic use and risk of colorectal cancer in the United Kingdom, 1989–2012: a matched case–control study. Gut. 2019; 0: 1-8. DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2019-318593