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A Pill a Day May or May Not Work. Check Your Genes

Whether or not you get the benefit of decreased colorectal cancer risk by taking aspirin may come down to the variants you have at two spots in your genome, as GenomeWeb has reported.

A study appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week from Colon Cancer Family Registry and the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium project researchers reports that this 30 percent decrease in colorectal cancer risk disappears in people with rare variants at sites on chromosomes 12 and 15. They examined this effect in 8,634 people with colorectal cancer and 8,553 controls.

In people with these some rare variants, aspirin use actually increased their risk of colorectal cancer.

This is a step toward the personalization of medicine and tailored preventive care, says Richard Wender from the American Cancer Society and Thomas Jefferson University in a related JAMA editorial.

"I anticipate the time when genome sequencing to determine a lifelong (colorectal-cancer) prevention and screening strategy is a reality, although it's some time off," Wender tells Reuters.