A regular question asked after a CLL diagnosis is whether or not to stop drinking alcohol. Hence this paper just published in Nature may be of interest, given the research concerns haematopoietic stem cells which generate our blood cells:
Alcohol and endogenous aldehydes damage chromosomes and mutate stem cells
"Haematopoietic stem cells renew blood. Accumulation of DNA damage in these cells promotes their decline, while misrepair of this damage initiates malignancies. Here we describe the features and mutational landscape of DNA damage caused by acetaldehyde, an endogenous and alcohol-derived metabolite. This damage results in DNA double-stranded breaks that, despite stimulating recombination repair, also cause chromosome rearrangements."
Or from the much more readable NewAtlas coverage:
Now a team at Cambridge University has for the first time clearly demonstrated and described how alcohol permanently damages DNA in stem cells which subsequently increases cancer risks...:
Of particular relevance: "The scientists further investigated how the body manages this influx of acetaldehyde (from the breakdown of alcohol - Neil). It is known that acetaldehyde is broken down in the body by a group of enzymes called aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH). Many people around the world carry defective ALDH enzymes, meaning they cannot effectively clear the body of acetaldehyde after drinking alcohol. As well as explaining why some people feel inordinately unwell after drinking alcohol, this build-up of acetaldehyde can result in greater DNA damage.
There are seven common cancers that have been confidently linked to alcohol: mouth, upper throat, laryngeal, oesophageal, breast, liver, and bowel. Further research is planned to help understand why alcohol is more likely to result in these specific cancers and not others."
Note that despite the research showing how DNA damage in haematopoietic stem cells occurs from exposure to the breakdown product from alcohol, CLL is not confidently linked to alcohol consumption. It is also unlikely to explain why I developed CLL/SLL, since I can still count on one hand the number of alcoholic drinks I've had...
Earlier discouraging news on this topic: healthunlocked.com/cllsuppo...