New York: The humble aspirin that you pop to ameliorate headache or a precaution against heart attack can also take on the dangerous colorectal cancer in people with a specific gene, a significant study shows.
“Individuals whose colons have high levels of a specific gene product - 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH) RNA - dramatically reduce their chances of developing colorectal cancer by taking aspirin,” said the researchers.
Aspirin, however, provides no benefit to individuals whose colons show low levels of 15-PGDH, the researchers added.
"If you looked at the folks from the study who had high 15-PGDH levels and took aspirin, they cut their risk of colon cancer by half," said Sanford Markowitz, a professor at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in the US.
"If you looked at the folks from the study that were low for 15-PGDH, they did not benefit at all from taking aspirin,” Markowitz added.
The extraordinary finding comes from a multi-institutional team that analysed data and other material from two long-term studies involving nearly 128,000 participants.
The study appeared in the journal Science Translational Medicine.