Chemoprevention refers to suppression or reversal of the carcinogenic process using pharmacologic or nutritional agents. Colorectal carcinogenesis is a protracted, multistep process that offers opportunities for prevention. Aspirin and selective cyclooxygen-ase-2 inhibitors (coxibs) have been evaluated for the prevention of sporadic adenoma recurrence. Aspirin was shown to reduce adenoma recurrence rates in patients with prior colorectal neoplasms; however, the optimal dosage remains unclear. Recent studies of coxibs indicate that these agents are effective in reducing sporadic adenoma recurrence, but chronic use can result in serious cardiovascular toxicity. These data underscore the need for chemopreventive agents with acceptable risk-to-benefit ratios. In this regard, nitric-oxide-releasing aspirin shows chemopreventive efficacy in preclinical models and holds promise for reduced toxicity in humans. Furthermore, ongoing chemoprevention trials are evaluating nutritional supplements, such as folic acid and selenium, and results are eagerly awaited.
ASJC Scopus subject areas