An Aspirin a Day Keeps the Colorectal Polyps Away

A national study indicates that patients who have had previous colorectal cancer and take 325 milligrams of aspirin each day — the equivalent of one adult aspirin — may lower the risk of developing new colon polyps by 35 percent. Polyps appear to be precursors to most colorectal cancers. The double-blind study randomly assigned half of the 635 patients who previously had colorectal cancer to an aspirin treatment group. The other half received a placebo or sugar pill. The results of the study will be published in the March 6, 2003, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.From the Mayo Clinic:Study Suggests an Aspirin a Day Can Reduce Recurrence of Colorectal Polyps

WHAT: A national study indicates that patients who have had previous colorectal cancer and take 325 milligrams of aspirin each day ? the equivalent of one adult aspirin ? may lower the risk of developing new colon polyps by 35 percent. Polyps appear to be precursors to most colorectal cancers.

The double-blind study randomly assigned half of the 635 patients who previously had colorectal cancer to an aspirin treatment group. The other half received a placebo or sugar pill. The results of the study will be published in the March 6, 2003, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

WHO: Charles Loprinzi, M.D., chair of the Division of Medical Oncology at Mayo Clinic and one of the authors of the study, will be available for regional interviews.

The study is titled “A Randomized Trial of Aspirin to Prevent Colorectal Adenomas in Patients with Previous Colorectal Cancer.” It was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and coordinated by Robert Sandler, M.D., professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and its affiliate, the North Central Cancer Treatment Group which is comprised of more than 20 community-based cancer treatment facilities, participated in the clinical research study along with over 100 other medical centers and clinics throughout the United States.

BACKGROUND: Cancers of the colon and rectum combined (colorectal) are the third most common site of new cancer cases and cancer deaths in both men and women in the United States. Each year, about 148,300 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and about 56,600 die from the disease.

Previous animal research and observational studies suggested that aspirin might decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. The randomized study being reported in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that aspirin is effective in significantly reducing the risk of colorectal polyps in patients previously diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

NOTE: The accompanying news release from the University of North Carolina provides more information about the study. In addition to this study, the March 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine features another study about the beneficial effects of aspirin for prevention of colorectal cancer and an editorial about the two studies.
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CONTACT:
Mary Lawson
507-284-5005 (days)
507-284-2511 (evenings)
e-mail: [email protected]

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