Prostate Cancer Hates Aspirin

Prostate cancer recurrence and mortality rates lower in men who take aspirin

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Aspirin and other common pain relievers have become the darlings of the cancer world. We’re hearing more and more about how aspirin or NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) help the body battle the monster.

For men treated for prostate cancer, taking aspirin regularly appears to lower their risk of dying from the disease.

Those are the findings of a new study out of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

"Talk to your doctor about aspirin therapy."

Kevin Choe, MD, PhD, assistant professor of radiation oncology at UT Southwestern, is first author of the paper reporting results of a study conducted at centers throughout the U.S.

“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,” Dr. Choe said in a press release.

Lab studies have found that aspirin and other anti-coagulation (blood-thinning) medications may block the growth and spread of cancer. However, these findings haven’t been backed up with clinical data.

Researchers looked at the records of nearly 6,000 men in the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE) database. All of the men had been treated for prostate cancer with surgery or radiation.

Of this group, some 2,200 men were taking anti-coagulants, which included warfarin, clopidogrel, enoxaparin and/or aspirin. Researchers compared the risk of death between the men taking these medications and those who were not taking the meds.

After 10 years, more men taking aspirin were alive than men who were not taking anti-coagulants. Specifically, 3 percent of the aspirin takers had died during the decade, compared with 8 percent of the non-aspirin takers.

Also, fewer men in the medication group saw their cancers return and spread.

Digging deeper, the study found the primary benefit came from aspirin, rather than other types of anti-coagulants.

More study is needed, though, according to Dr. Choe, who said that researchers ”need to better understand the optimal use of aspirin before routinely recommending it to all prostate cancer patients.”

This study was published August 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Financial disclosures were not available.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 29, 2012
Last Updated:
September 21, 2012