Keywords:Colorectal cancer;Cancer survival;Statins;Molecular pathological epidemiology;Pharmacoepidemiology
Ronan is a General Surgery specialty registrar with an interest in gastrointestinal cancer. He is taking three years out of his higher surgical training to complete a molecular pathological epidemiology PhD in colorectal cancer. Medications such as aspirin and statins are commonly prescribed in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Researchers have previously demonstrated that these medications may have anti-cancer effects in colorectal cancer. However it is not clear whether this is true for all colorectal cancers or just those with certain molecular features. Along with his supervisor Dr Helen Coleman, Ronan has established a large population-based colon cancer cohort with matched tissue and clinical follow-up data. Using this resource he is investigating the impact of aspirin and statins on colon cancer survival and whether the presence of a number of tumour biomarkers can differentiate tumours more sensitive to the potential anti-cancer effects of these medications. This research will enhance the evidence base in this field, particularly in the strive to develop “personalised cancer treatment.” On this basis it will contribute to the decision to perform additional clinical trials in this field in addition to the interpretation of those that have recently commenced.