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Aspirin, Ibuprofen can Lower Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk in Some Women

Aug 14, 2014 09:49 AM EDT
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aspirin (painkillers)

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Common drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen might reduce recurrence of breast cancer in some women, a new study has found.

The study was conducted by the researchers at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the University of Texas at Austin.

According to the researchers, women with estrogen receptor alpha (ERα)-positive breast cancer had more than 50 percent (52) lower risk of cancer relapse and a 28-month delay in time to recurrence if they were using aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

"These results suggest that NSAIDs may improve response to hormone therapy, thereby allowing more women to remain on hormone therapy rather than needing to change to chemotherapy and deal with the associated side effects and complications," said Linda A. deGraffenried, PhD, associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Texas in Austin. "However, these results are preliminary and patients should never undertake any treatment without consulting with their physician."

For the study, the researchers examined blood serum of breast cancer patients. The team placed serum in a culture of fat cells that make estrogen. The serum was then placed on breast cancer cells. The researchers found that the serum from overweight or obese breast cancer patients caused the cancer to grow faster than the serum from patients who weren't overweight.

"It looks like the mechanism is prostaglandins, which have a role in inflammation, and there's more of it in the obese patient serum," said Andrew Brenner, one of the study authors.

The study is published in the journal Cancer Research. U.S. Department of Defense, the Breast Cancer Research Program of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs and the National Cancer Institute funded the research.

Related research has shown that daily dose of aspirin can help people reduce their risk of developing cancers of the colon. However, studies have also shown that the drug could up eye disease risk.

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