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An alternative to prevent UC-associated colon cancer

CHICAGO Ulcerative colitis affects about one out of every 2,000 Americans, and after living with the disease for 30 years, nearly 22 percent of those people will develop colon cancer.

For those patients, the current standard of care in colon cancer prevention is frequent colonoscopic surveillance and random biopsies every one to two years, which may lead to the surgical removal of the colon and significantly decrease a patient's quality of life. But a new study from the University of Michigan Health System suggests that there may be better and more cost-effective means to prevent colon cancer in patients with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease.

Researchers from the U-M Health System's Division of Gastroenterology examined the cost-effectiveness of chemoprevention of colorectal cancer with statins, a class of medications commonly used to lower cholesterol. The investigators found that statin chemoprevention alone, or with infrequent colonoscopies, may be a more promising strategy for the management of patients with chronic ulcerative colitis than the current standard of care.

Results of the study will be presented May 16 at the Digestive Disease Week annual meeting in Chicago.

The cost-effectiveness of any strategy of prevention for colon cancer mortality in ulcerative colitis depends not only on the efficacy of surveillance or chemoprevention, but also on complication rates, costs, and quality of life of the patient, says lead author Joel Rubenstein, M.D., M.Sc., a lecturer in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Department of Internal Medicine at the U-M Medical School.

"Surveillance prevents cancer by leading patients to have colectomies, the surgical removal of part or the entire colon, which can significantly decrease their quality of life," says Rubenstein, who also is a staff physician at the Veteran's Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System. "But our study shows the possibilities of other
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16-May-2005


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