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Molecular Cancer Prevention with Aspirin
November 17th, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Department of Epidemiology Seminar Series
Andrew Chan, MD, MPH
Chief, Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit
Director of Cancer Epidemiology, Mass General Cancer Center
The remarkably consistent evidence demonstrating that aspirin is associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer led to a first-if-its-kind U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation for population use of aspirin for cancer prevention. However, the USPSTF recently released draft guidelines reversing this recommendation based on growing data that the effect of aspirin may differ according to individual factors, including age. This decision highlights the limitation of a “one-size-fits-all” approach to aspirin prevention. To date, the paradigm of “precision medicine,” the use of molecular biomarkers to optimize treatment response that has revolutionized cancer care has not been readily translated to cancer prevention. This situation is largely due to knowledge gaps regarding the biological mode-of-action of most preventive agents. Our group has led several studies into the mechanistic basis of aspirin’s anti-cancer effect that leverage complementary sources of human data, including prospective cohorts, clinical trials, and “living biobanks.” In this presentation, Dr. Chan will discuss results from these studies and plans for future work to translate precision prevention with aspirin to the clinic.