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Short-Term Drug Combo May Help Prevent Colon Cancer

Lab research finds only precancerous tissue affected, but more study needed

MONDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- A two-drug combination that kills precancerous colon polyps without harming normal tissue offers a potential new way to prevent colon cancer, researchers say.

The combination of vitamin A acetate (RAc) and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) was effective in mice and in human colon cancer tissue in the lab, according to the results of a study published online March 28 in the journal Nature.

The treatment appears to solve a problem with current chemopreventive drugs, which is that they must be taken continuously and long term to be effective, thus exposing patients to possible side effects, said study senior author Xiangwei Wu, an associate professor in the head and neck surgery department at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

"This combination can be given short term and periodically to provide a long-term effect, which would be a new approach to chemoprevention," Wu said in a university news release.

However, further research is needed before this combination treatment can be considered for human clinical trials, Wu said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about colon polyps.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, news release, March 28, 2010

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