By triggering diseased stem cells to self-destruct,nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) prevent colon cancer, discover researchers.
These findings by the researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine could lead to new strategies to protect people at high risk for the disease.
"Our study shows NSAIDs target stem cells that have accumulated mutations that could lead to cancer development, and initiate a biochemical pathway that makes those cells undergo programmed cell death, a process called apoptosis," Dr. Lin Zhang said.
The researchers studied mice that have a genetic defect similar to one that is present in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition that accounts for about 1 percent of all cases of colorectal cancer, and is typically present in non-hereditary colon cancer, too.
The study was reported in the early online version of this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.