Patients Prefer ''Virtual'' Colonoscopy but Dislike Preparation

Surveying patients who were screened for colorectal cancer, investigators at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis found that most prefer “virtual” colonoscopy to traditional screening, but most had positive appraisals of both. Patients didn’t, however, like the bowel preparation prior to either screening test.

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.

Possible colorectal cancer gene identified

Researchers have found that a recently discovered gene plays an essential role in mediating apoptosis, or cell death, in colorectal cancer cells. The gene, PUMA, or p53 up-regulated modulator of apoptosis, is controlled by p53 ? a tumor-suppressing gene that prevents normal cells from turning into life-threatening tumor cells. Previous research has determined that damage to p53 is fundamental to the development of a vast majority of cancers, and inactivation of the growth-controlling function of p53 is critical to the growth and spread of most cancers.

Clinical trials expanded with novel vaccine for advanced colorectal cancer

Several additional cancer centers in the United States and Canada are enrolling patients in an innovative clinical trial evaluating the use of a therapeutic cancer vaccine in patients with first-line metastatic colorectal cancer. In addition, a second trial using the vaccine earlier in the course of disease is now under way in centers across Canada, according to Aventis Pasteur Limited of Toronto, Canada, the study sponsor.