April 15, 2011

In 2008, 165 new cases of colon cancer were identified at CAMC with the patients receiving all or part of their care here, according to the Cancer Incidence and Statistical Overview. It was the third most common type of cancer diagnosed in West Virginia that year.


Colon cancer returns in about 10 to 15 percent of the patient cases. That's why investigators at CAMC have joined other physicians across the country to participate in the NSABP'S (National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project) study to see if a drug called Rosuvastatin (also called Crestor) may stop the re-growth of these tumor cells.


The researchers believe that giving Rosuvastatin (Crestor) after surgery may kill any tumor cells that remain after patient surgery to remove the colon cancer.


They believe that the use of this drug may keep polyps from forming and/or the colon cancer from coming back.


Research studies completed in the general population have shown that lipid-lowering drugs (statins like Crestor/ Rosuvastatin) have activity against cancer, including colon cancer.


"The accepted protocol was to treat the patient for colon cancer and then send them home," said Steven Jubelirer, MD. "Doctors might not see the patient again until the cancer returned. Hopefully we'll find that we can be proactive and prescribe Rosuvastatin to keep the cancer from returning."


The NSABP's P-5 trial is the largest trial of its kind in the United States, and expects to accrue 1,740 participants. The trial therapy is "blinded," meaning that the patients selected to participate will not know whether they are taking the active drug or a placebo for the five years of active treatment.


Patients are randomly selected to participate in one of these two groups and neither the patient nor the treatment team will know what study supplement the patient was assigned to until the treatment period is completed. Only colon cancer survivors with Stage I or II colon cancers are eligible to participate. The drug/placebo therapy is provided free of charge by the NCI.


If you are a Stage I or Stage II colon cancer survivor, less than one year from your surgery, and have questions related to participation in the NSABP P-5 trial, or you would like to be screened for eligibility in this trial, call Karen Shirey, RN at (304) 388-9936.

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