Benefit may be confined primarily to those with certain genetic variants, more research needed
The association between regular aspirin use and a reduced risk of precancerous colon polyps may be strongest in those with particular genetic variants. In the March 16 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers report that aspirin use appears to reduce the incidence of colon polyps more strongly in women with alternative forms of a gene involved in the metabolism of aspirin than in those with the most common form of the gene. The report – from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Brigham and Womens Hospital (BWH) and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) – analyzes data from the Nurses Health Study.
"Several studies by our group and others have suggested that aspirin may help prevent colon polyps, but since aspirin therapy also has risks, it would be helpful to identify those who are most likely to benefit," says Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH, of the MGH Gastrointestinal Unit, the papers lead author. "We decided to look at the gene for an enzyme that metabolizes aspirin and is known to have variant forms that slow down that process."
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