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Experts Highlight Inroads to Preventing Cancer
Date:4/20/2009

not going to protect you from the carcinogenic effects of smoking, at least in colorectal tissue," she said. In terms of meat consumption, she added that "everything in moderation" remains a good rule.

Another study found that specific genetic variations in the cox-1 and cox-2 genes indicate different risks for colorectal cancer. This might help determine who would benefit from the cancer-prevention benefits of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Although NSAIDs, including aspirin and cox-2 inhibitors, have been shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, that benefit may be nullified by an increased risk of heart disease seen in some cox-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx, which was removed from the market.

Other findings being presented at the society's meeting include:

  • A tool that looks simultaneously at several genetic variants and family history might more accurately predict who is at risk for prostate cancer and who could benefit from more aggressive prevention efforts. Men who had at least 15 of the gene variants included in the tool were found to have a 34 percent increased risk of developing prostate cancer in a 20-year span, or 45 percent increased risk if they had a family history of the disease. But without the combination of genetic information, their risk would have been estimated at only 13 percent.
  • Rats born to mothers who had been given folic acid supplementation during and after pregnancy were found to have experienced changes in DNA methylation in both the liver and the colon. DNA methylation is a process whereby genes can be turned off or on. Folic acid is recommended before and during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in babies. Folic acid intake in North America has soared since these recommendations were implemented in 1998.
  • Abnormal collections of cells were found in the blood of 38 percent of people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) as early as 10 y
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