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Aspirin's ability to protect against colorectal cancer may depend on inflammatory pathways
Date:3/9/2011

icipants who developed colorectal cancer during the subsequent 14 years and 555 age-matched controls who did not, the research team analyzed their baseline levels of three inflammatory factors C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor-2 (sTNFR-2). Although no association was seen between levels of CRP or IL-6 and risk of developing colorectal cancer, participants with the highest levels of sTNFR-2 had a 60 percent greater risk than did those with the lowest levels of the factor. In addition, the reduced risk of developing colorectal tumors associated with regularly taking aspirin or NSAIDs was primarily seen among participants with high baseline sTNFR-2 levels.

"Our results suggest that, even though chronic inflammation may increase colorectal cancer risk, not all blood markers of inflammation are markers of that risk," says Chan. "The most common blood biomarkers of inflammation CRP and IL-6 do not appear to be relevant, while sTNFR-2 does. A better understanding of the significance of these markers will help us identify individuals most likely to benefit from chemoprevention using aspirin or NSAIDs."

Charles Fuchs, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber, the study's senior author adds, "Understanding the specific inflammatory pathways that influence risk for colorectal cancer will be critical. While there is widespread agreement that inflammation is broadly related to cancer risk, some pathways may be protective while others are detrimental. More clearly defining the relevant pathways should help us better tailor therapies and interventions that will reduce cancer risk."


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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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