Life Extension Update
|February 03, 2004|
|Life Extension Weekly Update Exclusive |
C-reactive protein predicts colon cancer risk
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."
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.
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.
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