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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

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Foods Interfere With Colon Cancer Drugs

Red Meat and OJ Among Foods That Keep Sulindac, DFMO From Lowering Risk of Colon Polyps

The Role of Polyamines continued...

The picture drastically changed when polyamines were taken into account, Raj says.

People in the lowest quartile of polyamine intake were 81% less likely to have developed a new polyp than people given a placebo. They were also 89% less likely to have large adenomas and 94% less likely to have advanced adenomas.

"In people in the highest quartile of polyamine intake, however, DFMO and sulindac had no benefit whatsoever," Raj says.

"Too much polyamine is decreasing the effect of the drug seen in the original study," she says.

The findings help to refine who will most benefit from this colon cancer preventive strategy, says Richard M. Goldberg, MD, head of the North Carolina Cancer Hospital in Chapel Hill.

"Prevention studies are probably the answer to cancer," he tells WebMD. "That's how we will make the biggest impact on [deaths]." Goldberg was not involved in the study.

When it comes to polyamines, it's still not known how much is too much, Raj says. "But people in the highest quartile in the study are eating about 50% more [than the average person]," she says.

Foods rich in polyamines include orange juice, red meat, corn, and peas.

DFMO, which is short for difluoromethylornithine, was developed as a cancer medication but is now used to treat African sleeping sickness. It's also used to remove unwanted hair. Sulindac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), is also sold as Clinoril.

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