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Some research has suggested that getting more people to take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication may result in fewer colorectal cancer tests. However, a new study published in the journal Gastroenterology shows that these benefits may be limited to a select group of people.
After reviewing blood samples and 14 years worth of medical records from more than 120,000 participants, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital found that individuals who had higher levels of the inflammation markers C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 were significantly more likely to develop colorectal cancer.
Furthermore, these were the only participants who the data showed benefited from taking aspirin. The researchers said that interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein testing could help doctors identify patients who should begin this treatment.
"These findings suggest that a blood biomarker may be helpful in deciding whether individuals should take aspirin or NSAIDs to reduce their cancer risk," says Andrew Chan, who led the study. "A better understanding of the significance of these markers will help us identify individuals most likely to benefit from chemoprevention using aspirin or NSAIDs."
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