(Xinhua) — Men who have been treated for prostate cancer, either with surgery or radiation, could benefit from taking aspirin regularly, according to a U.S. study published this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Taking aspirin is associated with a lower risk of death from prostate cancer, especially for men with high-risk prostate cancer, according to the study. Kevin Choe, assistant professor of radiation oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, is first author of the paper.
Preclinical studies have shown that aspirin and other anticoagulation medications may inhibit cancer growth and metastasis, but clinical data have been limited previously.
The new study looked at almost 6,000 men who had prostate cancer treated with surgery or radiotherapy. About 2,200 of the men involved, or 37 percent, were receiving anticoagulants ( warfarin, clopidogrel, enoxaparin, and/or aspirin). The risk of death from prostate cancer was compared between those taking anticoagulants and those not.
The findings demonstrated that 10-year mortality from prostate cancer was significantly lower in the group taking anticoagulants, compared to the non-anticoagulant group, or three percent versus eight percent. The risks of cancer recurrence and bone metastasis also were significantly lower. Further analysis suggested that this benefit primarily derived from taking aspirin, as opposed to other types of anticoagulants.
The suggestion that aspirin, a frequently prescribed and relatively well-tolerated medication, may improve outcomes in prostate cancer is of particular interest, Choe said, noting that prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among men and the second-leading killer cancer in the United States.
“The results from this study suggest that aspirin prevents the growth of tumor cells in prostate cancer, especially in high-risk prostate cancer, for which we do not have a very good treatment currently,” Choe said in a statement. “But we need to better understand the optimal use of aspirin before routinely recommending it to all prostate cancer patients.”