Aspirin can help stop colon cancer

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and particularly affects people over the age of 50. The chances of recovery often depend on how far the cancer has spread. Researchers have now found that aspirin can help stop the growth of cancer cells.

The popular drug is especially appreciated for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effects. But apparently aspirin could also be useful in the fight against colon cancer.

Aspirin affects the development of colon cancer cells

According to researchers from the University of California, Irvine (USA), aspirin could influence the development of colon cancer cells in such a way that they are less able to survive and reproduce. As a result, aspirin slows down the division of cancer cells and at the same time increases the rate of cell death.1

The study was recently published in the specialized journal “eLife”. Co-author Dominik Wodarz, professor of population health and disease prevention at the Institute of Public Health, explains: “Cancer occurs because cells develop from a healthy state to a diseased state in which they are constantly dividing. This happens when the cells acquired a series of mutations and those mutations were selected. We found that aspirin affects and slows down this formation process. “2

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Study with patients with Lynch syndrome

A previous study had already looked at the effect of aspirin on patients with Lynch syndrome. It is an inherited disease that increases the risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as colon cancer. The patients took 600 milligrams of aspirin per day for two years. The result: the risk of developing colorectal cancer decreased by 63%.3 Many other studies have confirmed this result. It has now been shown for the first time how aspirin affects colon cancer cells.

The mathematical model provides information

What’s special: The current University of California study isn’t based solely on empirical findings. Instead, lead author Natalia Komarova, a math professor, developed a mathematical model that could be used to predict population-level incidence when cellular kinetics have been altered by aspirin treatment. The professor: “We thought that the slowing of the development of cancer due to aspirin must somehow result from the slowing of the development of the cells towards malignancy. What surprised us was that this mechanism was able to explain the level of protection observed in the human population quite well. In other words, the expected level was consistent with the protective effect observed in epidemiological studies on the human population ”.

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And his colleague Dominik Wodarz points out: “This work is an example of how mathematical approaches can be very useful for understanding complex phenomena in cancer biology. Such insights could not have been obtained through experiments alone. It requires the collaboration of empirical biological work and mathematics ”.


  • 1. Wang, CY, Wodarz, D., Komarova, NL (2022). The effect of aspirin on cell kinetic parameters contributes to its role in reducing the incidence of advanced colorectal adenomas, demonstrated by a multiscale computational study. eVita.
  • UCI news. UCI researchers found that aspirin alters the evolution of colorectal cancer. (aufgerufen am 14.6.22)
  • 2. Burn, J., Gerdes, AM, Macrae, F. (2011). Long-term effect of aspirin on cancer risk in hereditary colorectal cancer carriers: an analysis of the randomized controlled trial CAPP2. The hand.

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