Almost twenty years after researchers discovered a link between aspirin use and a reduced risk of colon cancer, a new study shows that the benefit of aspirin may depend on a person's DNA.
The study, published this week in the Science Translational Medicine journal, found that for people whose genes produce high levels of a particular enzyme, the risk of colon cancer dropped by 51 percent.
Simply put, for those whose DNA produces this enzyme, taking aspirin could cut the risk of colon cancer in half.
Led by Dr. Andrew Chan, associate professor at the Harvard School of Medicine and gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, the study examined the medical histories of over 120,000 people, 270 of whom had colon cancer.
Those with higher levels of the enzyme who took aspirin regularly had a 51 percent lower risk of colon cancer than those who did not take aspirin. However, those with low levels of the enzyme who took aspirin regularly had only a 10 percent lower risk.
What does this study mean for the future of colon cancer prevention? The results demonstrate potential for the use of a common, inexpensive drug in guarding against colon cancer, but only for those whose DNA produces the necessary enzyme.
Other Colon Cancer News From Around the Web
- A European study shows that uptake is slow for colon cancer screening in comparison to other types of cancers, even when the test is free.
- More evidence supporting the link between dietary fats and colon cancer progression.
- A colorectal surgeon says some of his patients "call and cancel" their colonoscopy appointments without a very good reason.
- Great news coverage on a New York Undy 5000 run, a fundraising event for Colon Cancer Alliance.
- A new study finds a way to make chemo-resistant colon cancer cells more treatable.
Image Source: Flickr user Schjelderup