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Cancer Detect Prev. 1998;22(3):213-8.

Aspirin use and p53 expression in colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Genetic Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


p53 protein overexpression indicates loss of tumor suppressor activity and is the most common genetic alteration in colorectal neoplasms. Epidemiologic and experimental studies suggest that regular use of aspirin may reduce colorectal cancer risk. We set out to determine whether p53 overexpression of the colorectum was associated with a patient's history of aspirin use. Self-administered questionnaires, including information on aspirin use, were obtained from 163 patients with nonfamilial colorectal cancer and from 326 healthy controls. Nuclear p53 protein overexpression using anti-p53 CM-1 polyclonal antibody was observed in 44.8% (73/163) of patients' tumors. A nonsignificant inverse association was observed between use of aspirin and colorectal cancer. Compared with that for nonusers, the odds ratio (OR) for individuals who took aspirin at least twice weekly was 0.68 (95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 0.39-1.18). The odds ratio for those individuals who used aspirin for less than 5 years was 0.54 (95% CI: 0.24-1.23), and 0.80 (95% CI: 0.42-1.51) for those who used aspirin for 5 years or more, when compared with nonusers. An inverse association of regular aspirin use (two times per week or more) was found both for cases with p53 overexpression (OR: 0.79; 95% CI: 0.39-1.59), and for cases without p53 overexpression (OR: 0.56; 95% CI: 0.25-1.22). There was little evidence of a difference in the effect of aspirin use on cancer risk between cases with and without p53 overexpression, even after adjustment for potential confounders.

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