Aspirin can benefit prostate cancer survivors

Updated: Aug 30, 2012, 14:37 PM IST

Houston: Regular intake of aspirin could benefit men who have been treated for prostate cancer, either with surgery or radiation, a new study has claimed.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical center claim that taking aspirin is associated with a lower risk of death from prostate cancer, especially in men with high risk disease.

Dr Kevin Choe, assistant professor of radiation oncology at UT Southwestern, who is first author of the paper said preclinical studies have shown that aspirin and other anticoagulation medications may inhibit cancer growth and metastasis, but clinical data have been limited previously.

"The results from this study suggest that aspirin prevents the growth of tumour cells in prostate cancer, especially in high-risk prostate cancer, for which we do not have a very good treatment currently," Choe said.

"But we need to better understand the optimal use of aspirin before routinely recommending it to all prostate cancer patients," Choe added.

The study looked at almost 6,000 men in the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE) database who had prostate cancer treated with surgery or radiotherapy.

About 2,200 of the men involved 37 percent were receiving anticoagulants like warfarin, clopidogrel, enoxaparin, and/or aspirin.

The risk of death from prostate cancer was compared between those taking anticoagulants and those who were not.

The findings of the study demonstrated that 10-year mortality from prostate cancer was significantly lower in the group taking anticoagulants, compared to the non-anticoagulant group 3 percent versus 8 percent, respectively.

The risks of cancer recurrence and bone metastasis also were significantly lower.

Further analysis suggested that this benefit was 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 to researchers, since prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among men and the second-leading cancer killer in the US.