Journal of lipid research 2018 02 14() pii 10.1194/jlr.M078725
Eicosanoids, including prostaglandins and thromboxanes, are broadly bioactive lipid mediators and increase colon tumorigenesis possibly through chronic inflammatory mechanisms. Epidemiological and experimental data suggest that acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) helps prevent colorectal cancer (CRC), possibly through cyclooxygenase (COX)-mediated suppression of eicosanoid – particularly prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) – formation. Recent studies suggest that statins prevent CRC and improve survival after diagnosis. We identified patients on ASA and/or statin treatment undergoing routine colonoscopy and measured eicosanoid levels in colonic mucosa with targeted metabolomics technology (LC-MS/MS). ASA-treated individuals (n=27) had significantly lower tissue eicosanoid levels of most COX-derived metabolites than untreated individuals (n=31). In contrast, COX-derived lipid metabolites tended to be higher in patients with statin treatment (n=7) as compared to those not receiving statins (n=24). This effect was not discernible in subjects treated with ASA and statins (n=11): Individuals treated with both drugs showed a pronounced suppression of COX-derived eicosanoids in colon tissue even compared to subjects treated with ASA alone. Our data from a routine clinical setting support the hypothesis that ASA and statins could inhibit CRC development via lipid mediator modification. Further studies should directly investigate the effect of dual ASA and statin treatment on colon tumorigenesis in humans.