This diagram shows the overarching theme of gene-environment interaction among five well-established ongoing studies. These studies take different approaches towards investigating complex interplay of the human genome and environment in relation to cancer. The components of the diagram are explained below.
The 5 research studies:
- Kentucky (KY) Colon Cancer Genetic Epidemiology Study: This study focuses on understanding the mechanistic linkage between obesity, insulin resistance, and colon cancer. The study was initiated in 2003, and there are ~4,500 participants.
- Cleveland Colon Screening and Risk Factor Study: This study focuses assessing stool DNA markers for early detection of colon cancer and polyps. In addition, the study is investigating how the gut microbiome and diet contribute to the development of colon polyps. The study was initiated in 2005, and there are ~4,000 participants.
- Zhabei Health 2020 Study: This is a ten-year collaborative project between Shanghai Zhabei District of Health and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The study investigates the impact of lifestyle and environmental changes on health and well-being among urban Chinese. The study was initiated in 2010, and there are ~40,000 participants.
- Breast Density—Breast Cancer Study: This study investigates mammographic breast density as a biomarker for breast cancer risk and prevention. The study was initiated in 2005, and there are ~2,200 participants.
- Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Study: This study investigates the impact of weight loss via bariatric surgery on cancer risk and the gut microbiome. The study was initiated in 2009 and 500 participants are expected to have enrolled upon completion.
- Is the cross-cutting theme among the mentioned research studies. The gene-environment interaction describes how the environment on an individual level (lifestyle, behavior, nutrition, etc.) and societal level (neighborhood, community, policy, etc.) can influence genetic expression.
Understanding Disease Causes and Prevention
- The end goal of these research studies is to garner an in-depth understanding of the underlying causes of chronic diseases and possible avenues for prevention and treatment.