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Arthritis Drug, Celebrex, May Also Reduce Colon Cancer

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By by Deborah Cooper • • July 26, 2000

Taking the arthritis drug, Celebrex may provide an unexpected benefit – the prevention of colon cancer, according to recent findings in The New England Journal of Medicine. The drug appears to significantly reduce polyps on the colon, the mass of swollen and tumerous membranes that lead to cancer.

Celebrex is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), commonly known as a Cox-2 inhibitor. NSAIDs relieve pain temporarily by blocking the body’s production of prostaglandins, chemicals associated with the pain and inflammation of injuries and immune reactions. Cox-2 inhibitors typically provide pain relief without the gastrointestinal side effects of other medications.

Researchers at the University of Texas believe that the drug reduces the incidence of colon cancer by blocking the enzyme Cox-2. Doctors studied the effect of celecoxib on colorectal polyps in patients with familial adenomatous polypsis, people who make so many tumerous growths that they have nearly 100 percent risk of colorectal cancer.

They randomly assigned 77 patients with either celecoxib or a placebo for six months. At the conclusion of the study the 30 people taking 400mg of celecoxib twice a day experienced a 28% reduction in the average number of colorectal polyps.

Colon (colorectal) cancer is a disease that claims the lives of nearly 55,000 men and women annually and ranks as the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine

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