Aspirin’s ‘triple whammy’ effect against cancer identified

Updated: Jun 01, 2012, 13:32 PM IST

London: Aspirin has “triple whammy” cancer-busting properties, according to two ground-breaking studies.

The studies show that not only does it protect against the disease, it can also trigger a “double hit” on existing cancer cells.

The findings suggest that a daily, low-dose aspirin pill could be taken to help ward off cancer, in the same way that it is currently prescribed to protect against heart disease.

Scientists at the University of Bristol found that aspirin can stop cells from mutating and becoming cancerous by starving them of vital nutrition.

“This means a daily low dose could prevent cancer but more research is needed,” a newspaper quoted Dr Yi Feng, lead author of the study in Current Biology, as saying.

A second Cancer Research-funded study, published in Gastroenterology, reveals how aspirin can kill cancer cells by controlling two processes that influence energy use in cells.

Scientists at Edinburgh and Dundee universities say this “double hit” causes cancer cells to destroy themselves.

Dr Farhat Din, at the University of Edinburgh, said of the two studies: “Aspirin is targeting on multiple levels. It can stop cancer tumours from forming in the first instance and attack them directly when they have formed.”

Many people already take a daily dose of aspirin to ward off heart disease and strokes, although long-term use can cause harm in some high-risk groups.