Researchers identify how aspirin prevents colon cancer

Long-term daily use of aspirin is known to prevent colon cancer, but until now it was unclear why this is the case.

Now researchers think they understand how aspirin works against colon cancer, says a new study.

Aspirin appears to boost aspects of the body’s immune response against cancer cells, according to findings published April 22 in the journal. Cancer.

“Our study demonstrates a complementary mechanism for cancer prevention or therapy with aspirin, in addition to the classical drug mechanism involving inhibition of inflammation,” said lead researcher Dr. Marco Scarpa, general surgeon at the University of Padua in Italy.

For the study, researchers obtained tissue samples from 238 patients who underwent surgery for colon cancer between 2015 and 2019. Of these, approximately 12% were aspirin users.

Tissue samples from aspirin users showed that the cancer spread less to the lymph nodes and that immune cells were more aggressively active against tumors, the researchers said.

In the laboratory, they found that exposing colon cancer cells to aspirin enhanced the ability of immune cells to alert each other to the presence of tumors.

Specifically, immune cells started expressing more of a protein called CD80. In patients with rectal cancer, aspirin users had higher CD80 expression in healthy tissue, suggesting that aspirin increases the immune system’s ability to detect and destroy cancer cells, researchers said.

The next step will be to find a way to get aspirin deeper into the intestines to boost its anticancer effects, Scarpa said.

“Aspirin is significantly absorbed by passive diffusion in the colon,” Scarpa said, so “if we want to benefit from its effects against colorectal cancer, we must consider how to ensure that aspirin reaches the colorectal tract in adequate doses.” be effective.”

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