With March designated as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute is enrolling people who were recently treated for colon cancer in a polyp prevention study. This National Cancer Institute (NCI)-sponsored study evaluates the cholesterol drug, rosuvastatin (Crestor), as a treatment to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Rosuvastatin is a statin, a class of drugs that lower cholesterol.
The study, entitled, "P-5: Statin Polyp Prevention Trial in Patients with Resected Colon Cancer," is being conducted by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), a network of cancer research professionals. More than 400 medical centers throughout North America, including the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute's Monter Cancer Center in Lake Success, are enrolling patients in this study. The study was developed because laboratory research and studies conducted in large populations of patients taking a statin to reduce cholesterol suggest that taking the drug may also decrease the number of colon polyps. Colon polyps, if left untreated, can lead to colon cancer. More than 300 patients have already entered the study, which will eventually involve 1,740 patients who have been treated for early-stage colon cancer and who were not already taking statins for high cholesterol. Patients will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. Each group will take one pill a day for five years. One group will receive rosuvastatin while the other group will receive a placebo.
"There will be an estimated 102,480 new cases of colon cancer in the United States this year. In fact, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in men and women in this country. We hope this trial will be an important step in reducing these numbers," said Norman Wolmark, M.D., NSABP's chairman.