A new study has found that a daily dose of aspirin was effective at blocking growth of breast tumor and other cancers.
The trick, says Sushanta Banerjee, research director of the Cancer Research Unit at the Kansas City (Mo.) Veterans Affairs Medical Center, is to ensure conditions around cancer stem cells aren’t conducive for reproduction, something aspirin seems able to do.
Banerjee added that in cancer, when you treat the patient, initially the tumor will hopefully shrink, the problem comes 5 or 10 years down the road when the disease relapses.
Cancer has stem cells, or residual cells that have already survived chemotherapy or other cancer treatment and they go dormant until conditions in the body are more favorable for them to again reproduce. When they reappear they can be very aggressive, nasty tumors, he noted.
According to Banerjee, exposure to aspirin dramatically increased the rate of cell death in the test. For those cells that did not die off, many were left unable to grow.
Banerjee noted of course there is a risk, but you have to weigh that against the risks of cancer, adding that it’s true this is relatively new and they don’t know all the side effects yet, but this was a very low dose.
Nevertheless, Banerjee is taking his own medicine. For three years he has been on a daily aspirin regimen with, he says, no ill effects. Each person, he stresses, should of course check with his or her own health care provider before doing the same.
They will appear in Laboratory Investigation.