~ 081309 Colorectal Cancer Patients Find Help in Aspirin

Agence France-Presse

A daily dose of aspirin decreased the risk of mortality in patients with colorectal cancer, a study released Wednesday found.

It has been known for some time that aspirin use reduced the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

But this study, which needs to be confirmed by additional research, according to its authors, found that in women and men a dose of aspirin could cut mortality rates among those already diagnosed with the disease.

The study, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), looked at the cases of 1,279 men and women diagnosed with non-metastasizing colorectal cancer at different stages, from 1980-2008.

One of two groups took a regular dose of aspirin (325 mg) at least twice a week (for a total of 650 mg or more per week).

Patients already diagnosed with colorectal cancer and on the aspirin dose were 29 percent less likely to die of colorectal cancer and 21 percent less likely do die overall.

Aspirin is likely at least in part to prevent tumor growth by inhibiting the production of COX-2, an enzyme that promotes cell proliferation "overexpressed," for example, in colorectal tumors.

Among those patients known to have a COX-2 positive tumor, the death rate among aspirin takers plunged by 61 percent. Overall aspirin reduced mortality by 38 percent for this group.

"These results suggest aspirin may influence the biology of established colorectal tumors in addition to preventing their recurrence," said Andrew Chan, a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School.

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