Aspirin's benefit in preventing colon cancer depends on DNA | Reuters
Aspirin's benefit in preventing colon cancer depends on DNA
(Reuters) - Cancer is the first disease where physicians have personalized treatment, matching a tumor's genetics to the appropriate chemotherapy, and now it may be the first in which prevention, too, can be personalized.
Two decades after scientists discovered that aspirin might reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, a new study finds that it has that benefit almost exclusively in people with genes that produce high levels of a particular enzyme. Those whose DNA produces low levels of the enzyme benefit hardly at all, scientists reported on Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
"If you have low levels of (the enzyme), taking aspirin to reduce your colon cancer risk is probably not helping you," said Dr. Sanford Markowitz, professor of cancer genetics at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland and co-leader of the study. "But people with higher levels are getting a bang for the buck: The combination of high enzyme levels plus taking aspirin really seems to be the key to measurably reducing colon cancer risk."