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Aspirin’s Ability To Protect Against Colorectal Cancer May Depend On Risk-Associated Inflammatory Pathways

Posted Mar 09 2011 6:06pm

The reduced risk of colorectal cancer associated with taking aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be confined to individuals already at risk because of elevations in a particular inflammatory factor in the blood.

In a report in the March issue of Gastroenterology, investigators from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) report finding that higher baseline levels of a novel inflammatory marker indicated increased risk of developing colorectal tumors and also predicted who might benefit from taking aspirin or NSAIDs.

“These findings suggest that a blood biomarker may be helpful in deciding whether individuals should take aspirin or NSAIDs to reduce their cancer risk,” says Andrew Chan, MD, MPH, of the MGH Gastrointestinal Unit, the paper’s lead author. “They also indicate that chronic inflammatory pathways are quite complex and further studies are needed to understand which facets of the inflammatory response are most associated with the development of colorectal cancer.”

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