Aspirin’s Anti-Cancer Benefits Can Backfire For People With A Certain Genetic Makeup

By Sharon Begley
NEW YORK, March 17 (Reuters) – Although numerous studies have shown that regular use of aspirin or related drugs can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by about 30 percent, scientists have found an important exception: The medicines can actually increase the risk in people with certain genetic variants, new research shows.
The result, published on Tuesday, is yet another step on the road to “precision medicine,” which aims to match treatments to patients’ genetic make-up. If confirmed, it could alter recommendations for preventing colorectal cancer, which is projected to kill 49,700 people in the United States this year.
In an editorial accompanying a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Richard Wender of the American Cancer Society and Thomas Jefferson University called the discovery “scientifically noteworthy.”
“I anticipate the time when genome sequencing to determine a lifelong (colorectal-cancer) prevention and screening strategy is a reality, although it’s some time off,” he said in an interview.
Physicians sometimes prescribe aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for patients with a history of colon polyps. For most people, however, that is not recommended, because routine use of NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal bleeding. —> Read More