March 2010: Infection and Gastrointestinal Cancer

A successful BSG Research Workshop on Infection and Gastrointestinal Cancer: Mechanisms and Therapeutic Strategies was held at the BSG Annual Meeting on 25th March 2010. The multidisciplinary workshop, organised by Professor Jean Crabtree and Professor Dermot Kelleher on behalf of the Research Committee, included UK speakers from a range of scientific and clinical disciplines and overseas speakers including Professor Lars Engstrand (Karolinska Institute, Stockholm), Professor Barry Marshall (Perth, Australia) and Professor Francis Megraud (Bordeaux, France). Several TiGs delegates were also able to attend the meeting. After an excellent introductory presentation on infection, inflammation and carcinogenesis in the gastrointestinal tract by Fiona Powrie (Oxford), the potential oncogenic pathways by which H. pylori and EBV contribute to gastric cancer were discussed by John Atherton (Nottingham) and Lawrence Young (Birmingham), respectively. Jon Rhodes (Liverpool) elegantly highlighted the potential role of bacterial infections in colorectal cancer and Dermot Kelleher (Dublin) overviewed the role of HCV in hepatic cancer. Andrea Varro (Liverpool) presented novel data on gastric myofibroblasts and the importance of epithelial-mesenchymal interactions in pathogen-induced gastrointestinal carcinogenesis.

Subsequent presentations focused on therapeutic approaches to manipulate pathogen stimulated signalling responses and inflammatory responses. The regulation of ADAM 17 signalling pathways responsible for EGFR transactivation were discussed by Gillian Murphy (Cambridge). The effects of EGFR inhibitors on gastric pathology in vivo in rodent gastric Helicobacter models was described by Jean Crabtree (Leeds). Thorsten Hagemann (Bart's and the London) reviewed inflammatory targets for cancer chemoprevention and Mark Hull (Leeds) discussed experimental studies on aspects of chemoprevention of colorectal cancer. Lars Engstrand (Karolinska Institute, Sweden) presented elegant studies on analysis of the human gastrointestinal microbiome and presented new data on microbiome changes in gastrointestinal cancer. The final presentation by Barry Marshall (Perth, Australia) discussed the acquisition and transmission of H. pylori infection, and the potential for H. pylori eradication reducing gastric cancer globally. The meeting concluded with a lively discussion which addressed the issues of both direct effects of infection on oncogenesis and the effects secondary to inflammation which contributed to carcinogenesis through effects on both proliferation and apoptosis. A lively discourse continued over dinner at The Racquet Club.