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Friday, October 26, 2012
Aspirin Helps Colon Cancer Patients With DNA Defect
Regular use of aspirin may keep colon cancer from killing patients whose tumors contain a specific gene defect, according to a study that shows how modern gene science can guide use of old drugs.
Previous studies have suggested that regular aspirin use may help keep the disease from spreading. The new data, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, identifies a gene variation linked to the protective effect of aspirin.
Cancer researchers have been using gene tests to select patients likely to benefit from new medicines that target mutations driving tumor growth. The study released yesterday from researchers at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute shows the DNA test method can uncover the potential of other drugs to fight cancer.
“The data are very strong,” said Boris Pasche, chief of hematology and oncology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study, in a telephone interview. “It would be a big deal if these numbers are confirmed.”