Aspirin Prolongs Survival of Cancer Patients

Aspirin Prolongs Survival of Cancer PatientsAspirin Prolongs Survival of Cancer Patients

It has been hailed a “wonder drug” because of its numerous health benefits, and now, a new study provides further evidence that aspirin may help in the fight against cancer.

Published in the journal PLOS One, the study suggests that taking low doses of aspirin may increase survival for cancer patients by up to a fifth, as well as reduce the spread of the disease.

Aspirin is primarily used to treat pain, fever and inflammation, and also as an anti-platelet medication, acclaimed as having the potential to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke for older adults at high risk, Medical News Today (MNT) reported.

In recent years, however, the drug has emerged as a promising tool for cancer prevention.

Prof. Peter Elwood, of Cardiff University’s School of Medicine in the UK and lead author of the new study, and his team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 42 observational studies and five randomized trials that included patients who had been diagnosed with either breast, colorectal or prostate cancer.

Researchers found that cancer patients who took low-dose aspirin - in combination with other cancer treatment - showed a 15-20% increase in survival, compared with those who did not take low-dose aspirin.

What is more, they found low-dose aspirin use was associated with a reduction in the spread of cancer, or cancer metastasis.

While the authors were unable to pinpoint exactly how aspirin may benefit cancer patients, they identified a mutation in a gene called PIK3CA in around 20% of patients, which Elwood says appeared to explain a large majority of the reduction in cancer deaths among patients with colon cancer.

Elwood adds, “While there is a desperate need for more detailed research to verify our review and to obtain evidence on less common cancers, we’d urge patients diagnosed with cancer to speak to their doctor about our findings so they can make an informed decision as to whether or not they should take a low-dose aspirin as part of their cancer treatment.”