Pardee Hospital's nationally recognized Comprehensive Cancer Center has opened a prevention study to those who have had recent, surgical removal of early-stage cancerous colon polyps or tumors and who are not already taking a statin, a class of drug that lowers cholesterol.
Polyps can lead to colon cancer if left untreated, and those who have been diagnosed with cancerous polyps are at high risk for recurrence of the disease. The National Cancer Institute-sponsored study will evaluate whether the cholesterol drug Rosuvastatin (Crestor) may kill remaining tumor cells after surgery, prevent polyps from forming and/or keep colon cancer from returning.
"While major advances have been made in colon cancer treatment in recent years, we would much rather not have to treat it at all," says James Radford, M.D., principal researcher for Pardee's Cancer Research Program. "To accomplish this goal, we have to learn how to prevent it, and this study is a major step in that direction."
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer found in men and women in the United States, with more than 100,000 new cases estimated for 2013. According to the National Cancer Institute, colon cancer is highly treatable and often curable in its early stages, with surgery resulting in a cure in 50 percent of cases. But recurrence of the disease following surgery is a major problem and is often the ultimate cause of death.
The polyp prevention study, titled "P-5: Statin Polyp Prevention Trial in Patients with Resected Colon Cancer," is being conducted by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, a network of cancer research professionals. Along with Pardee, more than 400 medical centers in North America are enrolling patients in the study.
Those interested in participating in the polyp prevention trial can call Pardee's Cancer Research Department for more information at (828) 696-4716.