Chemoprevention of colonic cancer: Is there a foreseeable future?

Raffaele Palmirotta, Patrizia Ferroni, Mario Roselli, Fiorella Guadagni

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The high incidence and low percentages of survival of colorectal cancer make effective prevention an important public health issue. Colorectal carcinogenesis is a multistep process involving dietary factors and multiple genetic alterations in signaling pathways that control cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Predisposing genetic syndromes, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), have provided an excellent model for studying the genetic alterations involved in the etiology and progression of sporadic colon cancer. These developments in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the neoplasm provide new insights for developing selective agents with potential chemopreventive properties against colon carcinogenesis. Clinical and experimental evidence have demonstrated that long-term intake of non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has a reduced risk of developing colorectal polyps and cancer. Similarly, several synthetic or natural compounds, such as folate or selenium prevent the biological events leading to the development of cancer. However, the clinical use of these drugs as chemopreventive agents is limited by many open questions about the optimal drug, dose, duration of therapy and knowledge about the mechanism(s) by which these drugs act.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntestinal Polyps and Polyposis: From Genetics to Treatment and Follow-up
PublisherSpringer Milan
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9788847011236
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Calcium
  • Colorectal cancer prevention
  • Colorectal cancer therapy
  • DMFO
  • Folate
  • Nitric oxide
  • NSAIDs
  • Review
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin D
  • WNT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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