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Association of night shifts work!genetic risk and risk of gastrointestinal cancer in the UK Biobank

Association of night shifts work!genetic risk and risk of gastrointestinal cancer in the UK Biobank

Principal Investigator: Dr Xiawei Li
Approved Research ID: 91734
Approval date: September 16th 2022

Lay summary

1.Aims: We aim to examine the effects of past and current night shift work on gastrointestinal cancer and whether night shifts work modifies the genetic gastrointestinal cancer predisposition.

2. Scientific rationale: Approximately 15-20 % of the working population in industrialized countries is estimated to engage in night-shift work, including permanent night shifts, rotating shifts, and irregular schedules!and the effect of such a work schedule on health, including on the formation of cancers, has attracted increasing multidisciplinary research attention. Shift work, particularly night shifts, disrupts social and biological rhythms, as well as sleep, and through those pathways has been suggested to increase the risk of cancer.

In addition to environmental factors such as shift work, genetics also plays an important role in gastrointestinal cancer risk. According to some research, lifestyle and environmental factors may alter genetic susceptibility to chronic diseases. Thus, lifestyle and environmental factors may also alter genetic susceptibility to gastrointestinal cancers, a currently unexplored question.

3. Project duration: Three years will be needed to complete this project.

4. Public health impact: With the prevalence of gastrointestinal cancer on the rise, we need to understand which aspects of the shift work schedule are likely to be the most disruptive, and for which specific gastrointestinal cancers are positively correlated, which is critical for designing targeted primary and secondary prevention strategies. It ultimately could help reduce disease-related societal burden and economic cost. In addition, our study on whether night shift modifies genetic susceptibility to gastrointestinal cancer could genetically explain the association between night shift and gastrointestinal cancer, a question worth exploring.