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Painkillers may not reduce colorectal cancer risk for everybody.

Regular use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs seems to reduce colorectal cancer risk in population studies. Yet a new study finds that people who harbor one of two genetic variants seem to have a heightened risk of the cancer if they take aspirin or other NSAIDs, which include ibuprofen and naproxen. About 4 percent of people in the study carried one of these two rare variants, which are located in the vicinity of the MGST1 gene on chromosome 12. In this analysis, which appears in the March 17 JAMA, researchers also detected other genetic variants in the neighborhood of the IL-16 gene on chromosome 15. People carrying those, about 9 percent of participants, seemed to gain neither risk nor protection from the drugs. Both MGST1 and IL-16 belong to families of genes that have been linked to cancer. But the precise mechanisms that might associate these variants with colorectal cancer risk and aspirin or other NSAID use remain unclear. The study was based on data from more than 8,000 colorectal cancer patients and more than 8,000 others who didn't have the cancer.

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Author:Seppa, Nathan
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 18, 2015
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