The risk of developing cancer increases with age. Factors like smoking and regular aspirin use also affect the risk of cancer – although in the opposite sense. Researchers from the University of Basel were now able to show that aspirin use and smoking both influence aging processes of the female genome that are connected to colorectal cancer. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute has published their results.
Already in the 1990s, scientists discovered that regular use of aspirin over long periods of time decreases the cancer risk. Since then, numerous studies have confirmed the protective effect of the drug against different types of cancer. Regular aspirin use is said to reduce the risk to develop colorectal cancer by an average of 40%. However, it is unknown how exactly the drug influences the cancer risk.
Our lifestyle choices affect the aging processes of our genome which can cause cell transformation and cancer
(Fig.: Martin Oeggerli / Micronaut, in cooperation with FHNW.)
A research group led by Prof. Primo Schär, molecular geneticists at the Department of Biomedicine from the University of Basel and gastrointestinal specialist PD Dr. Kaspar Truninger, has now discovered a possible mechanism of how aspirin decreases the risk of cancer: It slows down certain aging processes of the genome - namely modifications that also play an important role in the development of tumors.
In order to analyze the relationships between lifestyle and genome aging, the researchers examined intestinal tissue samples of 546 healthy women over 50 years of age. They compared age-specific changes of gene markers, so-called DNA methylations, with the women's lifestyle factors regarding aspirin use, smoking, body mass index and hormonal replacement therapy. The most significant effects were measured for aspirin use and smoking.
“Each cell's genome resembles a library that is full of bookmarks”, explains Schär. Thanks to these bookmarks, the cells know which genes to read, so that they can fulfill their specialized tasks as skin, muscle or intestinal cells. “But these markers are not very stable and change during the course of age. If, at certain parts of the genome, the change is to drastic, tumors can develop”, says Schär.
In this study, the researchers were able to show for the first time that this age-related decay of gene markers can be slowed down by the regular use of aspirin. Smoking on the other hand, accelerates the aging process. “Especially affected are genes that also play a role in the development of cancer”, says Dr. Faiza Noreen, research associate at the Department of Biomedicine from the University of Basel and first author of the study.
Truninger emphasizes that it would be premature to start taking aspirin solely for cancer prevention without consulting a doctor first – especially when regarding the potential side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding.
Noreen F, Röösli M, Gaj P, Pietrzak J, Weis S, Urfer P, Regula J, Schär P and Truninger K.
Modulation of Age- and Cancer Associated DNA Methylation Change in the Healthy Colon by Aspirin and Lifestyle.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute published online, 2014 106 (4): dju161 doi: 10.1093/jnci/dju161
Prof. Primo Schär, Department of Biomedicine, University of Basel, phone: +41 (0)61 267 07 67, email: email@example.com
Olivia Poisson | Universität Basel
Scientists track ovarian cancers to site of origin: Fallopian tubes
23.10.2017 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Press release
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.10.2017 | Earth Sciences