Aspirin and Cancer
I have written before about the apparent value of cancer in reducing the recurrence risk of breast cancer. Obviously, some people have other medical reasons that make a daily aspirin a bad idea, so it is important to run this one by your doctor before incorporating the habit into your life. This is an important and persuasive article from the British Journal of Cancer. Per usual, here is the abstrat and a link:
Aspirin and cancer: has aspirin been overlooked as an adjuvant therapy?
RE Langley*,1, S Burdett1, JF Tierney1, F Cafferty1, MKB Parmar1 and G Venning2 1MRC Clinical Trials Unit, London, UK; 2Pharmaceutical Research Services, High Wycombe, UK
Aspirin inhibits the enzyme cyclooxygenase (Cox), and there is a significant body of epidemiological evidence demonstrating that regular aspirin use is associated with a decreased incidence of developing cancer. Interest focussed on selective Cox-2 inhibitors both as cancer prevention agents and as therapeutic agents in patients with proven malignancy until concerns were raised about their toxicity profile. Aspirin has several additional mechanisms of action that may contribute to its anti-cancer effect. It also influences cellular processes such as apoptosis and angiogenesis that are crucial for the development and growth of malignancies. Evidence suggests that these effects can occur through Cox-independent pathways questioning the rationale of focussing on Cox-2 inhibition alone as an anti-cancer strategy. Randomised studies with aspirin primarily designed to prevent cardiovascular disease have demonstrated a reduction in cancer deaths with long-term follow-up. Concerns about toxicity, particularly serious haemorrhage, have limited the use of aspirin as a cancer prevention agent, but recent epidemiological evidence demonstrating regular aspirin use after a diagnosis of cancer improves outcomes suggests that it may have a role in the adjuvant setting where the risk:benefit ratio will be different.