Severe paediatric obesity is associated with a range of metabolic complications and is characterised by a chronic meta-inflammatory state. It is postulated that this inflammatory response may result in an excess of systemic reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are well known for inducing DNA damage and reducing the capability of DNA synthesis and repair enzymes. Consequently, chronic inflammation in obesity may promote an accumulation of deleterious DNA mutations, leading to genome instability and driving carcinogenesis.
This research aims to accrue evidence to consolidate or refute a causative link between genome instability in childhood obesity and the increased risk of developing cancer at a later stage in life. For the purpose of this study, a novel, non- invasive analytical ‘tool-kit’ for the combined and comprehensive assessment of systemic inflammation and acquired DNA damage has been developed and is being tested on a cohort of severely obese children and healthy weight controls recruited from King’s College Hospital and St George’s NHS trust. Furthermore, this research aims to propose biomonitoring of the genome to inform prioritization and severity of intervention measures based on the suggested reversibility of DNA damage following early surgical weight-loss treatment.