Presence or Absence of Colorectal Adenomas Influences Efficacy of Chemoprevention

PHILADELPHIA (September 10, 2018)— Chemoprevention was effective in reducing the incidence of colorectal cancer in a new study, but the therapies worked differently depending on whether mice presented with or without benign tumors at the time the intervention started. The paper, by Wen-Chi Chang, PhD, an assistant research professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center, appears online in Gut, a peer-reviewed journal published by BMJ.

Chang and colleagues examined the cancer preventive activity of the cholesterol-lowering agent atorvastatin – the generic form of Lipitor – alone and in combination with the anti-inflammatory drug sulindac in mice confirmed by colonoscopy to be tumor-free or bearing colorectal tumors at 7-8 weeks of age. After 14 weeks of treatment, atorvastatin completely eliminated the formation of microadenomas, the earliest detectable lesions in the development of colon adenomas, in tumor-free mice. In contrast, the combination treatment reduced the number of colon adenomas only in mice that had colon tumors at the time of study enrollment.

“These results indicate that physicians need to consider the prior colon tumor history of a high risk subject when selecting a chemopreventive regimen, to ensure that the protection afforded is optimal,” said Margie Clapper, co-leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Fox Chase and senior author of the study.

Funding supported by an appropriation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a donation from Aurora M and Timothy P Hughes, and by grants CA-129467 and  
CA-006927 from the National Cancer Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence six consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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