Scientists have found that aspirin can reduce cancer recurrence in patients with prostate cancer.
Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center have, in the largest study on this topic, found substantial data suggesting that aspirin improves outcomes in prostate cancer patients who have received radiotherapy.
A team led by Mark Buyyounouski, M.D., M.S., a radiation oncologist at Fox Chase, examined a database of over 2000 prostate cancer patients who underwent radiotherapy at Fox Chase between 1989 and 2006 and found that aspirin use lowers the risk of cancer recurrence.
The team found that the 761 men who took aspirin at or after the time of radiotherapy were less likely to experience biochemical failure, as indicated by the levels of PSA, than were the 1380 men who didn”t take the drug.
After 10-years from completion of treatment, 31 percent of the men who took aspirin developed recurrence compared with 39 percent of non-aspirin users (p=0.0005).
There was also a 2 percent improvement in 10-year prostate cancer related survival associated with aspirin use with a trend toward statistical significance (p=0.07).
“We know that prostate cancer has a long natural history and 15 years or more may be necessary to detect significant difference in survival,” Buyyounouski explained.
“Longer follow-up is needed, but these results warrant further study,” he said.
The readily available drug could be a promising supplement to radiotherapy in prostate cancer patients, and its beneficial effects may generalize to other types of cancer, Buyyounouski said.
Still, he cautions “it”s a little premature to say that men need to start taking aspirin if they have a history of prostate cancer”.
The optimal dose, timing, and duration of aspirin therapy, as well as potential side effects are not well understood, Buyyounouski explained.
It”s not clear how exactly the aspirin is helping and more research is needed to investigate this.
“Its possible aspirin therapy is making the radiation more effective or preventing the cancer from spreading,” he said.
“Hopefully, these clinical results will provide feedback to laboratory researchers to try to explain the underlying mechanism so that we can better study the clinical effects in targeted populations,” he added.