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C-reactive protein predicts colon cancer risk
The marker of inflammation known as C-reactive protein (CRP), which, when elevated, has emerged as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, appears additionally to be predictive of one’s risk for developing colon cancer, according to a study published in the February 4 2004 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions analyzed data obtained from 22,887 participants in the CLUE II ("Give Us a Clue to Cancer and Heart Disease") study who were followed from 1989 to 2000, and who had not been diagnosed with colorectal cancer at the study’s onset. Participants completed health questionnaires upon enrollment, and provided blood samples that were analyzed for C-reactive protein. The investigators identified 131 cases of colon cancer and 51 cases of rectal cancer that occurred during follow-up, and matched each of these subjects for age, gender, and other factors with two healthy controls.
It was discovered that median CRP levels were higher among individuals who developed colon cancer than in those who remained free of the disease. Subjects who had a median C-reactive protein of 2.44 milligrams per liter experienced a higher risk of developing colon cancer than participants whose median CRP was low at 1.94 milligrams per liter. Individuals in the top fourth of CRP levels had 2.5 the risk of developing colon cancer than that of those in the lowest fourth. There was no association found between levels of CRP and rectal cancer.
It was noted that participants who had taken aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with two days before having their blood drawn experienced a reduction in colon cancer risk. Another report published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine (Feb 2004), found that women who reported taking two or more aspirin per day had half the risk of developing colon polyps than those who reported no aspirin use. Colon polyps are frequently a precursor of colon cancer.
Lead author and assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins, Thomas P. Erlinger, MD, MPH, commented, "Higher levels of C-reactive protein are linked to an increased risk of several apparently distinct, chronic diseases: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and now colon cancer. However, it's not clear yet how or whether measuring C-reactive protein would fit into current screening and prevention strategies for colorectal cancer. Further studies should help answer these questions and help clarify the mechanism by which inflammation increases the risk of cancer."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer of the colon and rectum affects nearly 150,000 Americans each year, with one out of every 20 individuals at risk for developing colorectal cancer at some point in their lifetime. It is the second most frequently diagnosed malignancy in the United States, causing approximately 56,000 deaths annually. However, early detection of colorectal cancer dramatically increases survival. For example, 92% of patients who receive early treatment are still alive after 5 years compared to 64% survival when adjacent organs or lymph nodes are affected. Only 7% of patients are alive after 5 years if the cancer is carried to distant organs (Dashwood 1999).
Curcumin has a number of biological effects within the body. However, one of the most important functions is curcumin's ability to inhibit angiogenic growth signals emitted by tumor cells eliciting angiogenesis (growth and development of new blood vessels).
In a study conducted by the International Institute of Anticancer Research in the 2001 edition of Anticancer Research, curcumin inhibited cell proliferation and induced G2/M (cell cycle phase) arrest in HCT-116 colon cancer cells. Furthermore, immunoblot analysis indicated that curcumin caused the induction of apoptosis as evidenced by cleavage of PARP, caspase-3, and reduction in Bcl-XL levels. Curcumin also stimulated the activity of caspase-8 which initiates the Ras signaling pathway of apoptosis. Curcumin therefore appears to exert its anticarcinogenic properties by inhibiting proliferation and inducing apoptosis in certain gastric and colon cancer cells.
The American Health Foundation's Nutritional Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program investigated epidemiological data suggesting that dietary manipulations play an important role in the prevention of many human cancers. Curcumin has been widely used for centuries in the Asian countries without any toxic effects. Epidemiological data also suggest that curcumin may be responsible for the lower rate of colorectal cancer in these countries. Additionally, this data confirmed curcumin is a naturally occurring powerful anti-inflammatory medicine. Curcumin inhibits lipooxygenase activity and is a specific inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression. Curcumin has been shown to inhibit the initiation of carcinogenesis by inhibiting the cytochrome P-450 enzyme activity and increasing the levels of glutathione-S-transferase. Curcumin has also demonstrated inhibition of the promotion/progression stages of carcinogenesis. The antitumor effect of curcumin has been attributed in part to the arrest of cancer cells in S, G2/M cell cycle phase and to the induction of apoptosis. Curcumin has also inhibited the growth of DNA mismatch repair-defective colon cancer cells. Therefore, curcumin may have value as a safe chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of tumors exhibiting DNA mismatch repair-deficient and microsatellite-unstable phenotype. The American Health Foundation suggests curcumin should be considered a safe, nontoxic, and easy-to-use chemotherapeutic agent for colorectal cancers in the setting of chromosomal instability as well as microsatellite instability.
Featured Products of the Week
Super Curcumin with Bioperine
Curcumin was first used by Indians over 3,000 years ago in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Modern science has found that this extract from the common spice turmeric has remarkable qualities as an antioxidant.* Over time, as our cells continue to be affected by free radicals, or oxidants, organs begin to degenerate and aging accelerates. The body does have built-in defense mechanisms to protect itself from free radical damage, but eventually, aging and disease deplete the body’s ability to keep oxidants at bay.
Numerous studies document the multiple health benefits of daily low dose aspirin. Aspirin helps to maintain normal platelet aggregation in blood vessels and the production of prostaglandin E2 and C-reactive protein, which have been linked to many chronic inflammatory conditions.
Super Sale Extended Through February 6 2004!
Due to overwhelming demand from our loyal supporters, the Life Extension Buyers Club's 15th annual Super Sale has been extended through midnight (EST), Friday, February 6th! You won’t see prices this low until the next Super Sale at the end of 2004. Order now for your last chance for Super Sale savings on all Life Extension products.
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