Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) has shown effectiveness as a colon cancer chemopreventive agent in preclinical studies.
Research has suggested that it may decrease the risk for developing colorectal dysplasia in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC).
|Patients who received ursodeoxycholic acid had a relative risk of 0.26 for developing colorectal dysplasia or cancer.|
In this study, researchers from Minnesota, USA, evaluated the effect of UDCA on colorectal neoplasia in a group of patients with UC and PSC.
The team assessed patients previously enrolled in a trial of UDCA therapy for PSC. They followed-up patients with concomitant UC to assess the effect of UDCA on the development of colorectal dysplasia and cancer. Overall, the team followed-up 52 subjects for a total of 355 person-years.
The researchers found that those patients originally assigned to receive UDCA had a relative risk of 0.26 for developing colorectal dysplasia or cancer.
The team also found that many of the patients originally assigned to the placebo group eventually received open-label UDCA. If these patients were assigned to the UDCA group from the time they began active therapy the relative risk remained the same (0.26).
Dr Darrell Pardi's team concluded, "UDCA significantly decreases the risk for developing colorectal dysplasia or cancer in patients with UC and PSC".
In a related editorial in the same publication Dr Teresa Brentnall of the University of Washington also discusses the possible benefits of ursodiol.
She discusses the mechanism of this drug's protective effect, and also cites the previous study as an example of the potential that this chemopreventative agent may have.
Dr Brentnall concludes, "The data looks quite promising, and ongoing prospective trials will help determine whether a good drug is even better than initially thought".