Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality in developed countries; in Hungary, the mortality has almost tripled in the past four decades. A decrease in mortality can only be expected from a consistently applied diagnostic and management strategy, including preventive measures. Primary prevention is defined as dietary, medicinal and lifestyle actions that can reduce the risk of developing cancer in people with average risk. Secondary prevention is the prophylactic treatment of high-risk patients or praecancerous lesions; tertiary prevention is the prevention of recurrence in patients cured of colorectal cancer. Drugs or dietary supplements used for chemoprevention block, delay or reverse the process of carcinogenesis. The most important drugs used for chemoprevention are aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Long-term administration of these drugs reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer or adenoma both in the high-risk and in the average-risk population. The risk-lowering effect seems to be in positive correlation with the dose and the duration of use. Other chemoprophylactic drugs such as calcium, folate, oestrogen and antioxidants, as well as 5-aminosalicylates in patients with ulcerative colitis are also discussed in this review. Based on the current knowledge, chemoprophylaxis of colorectal cancer is recommended as secondary prevention in patients at high risk (e.g., familial adenomatous polyposis, extensive ulcerative colitis). In contrast, based on adverse event profile and cost-effectiveness analysis, primary prevention with chemopreventive drugs is currently not recommended in the average-risk population.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Lege Artis Medicinae|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 1 2006|
ASJC Scopus subject areas