Aspirin And Breast Cancer: Daily Regimen Helps Block Tumor Growth

First Posted: Jun 14, 2015 04:04 PM EDT

Could a daily aspirin regimen help prevent the potential growth of breast cancer or even stop it from coming back?

New findings published in the journal Laboratory Investigation investigate how this medication may fight off cancer stem cell reproduction that can lead to relapse in some patients.

Study author Dr. Sushanta Banerjee of Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center found that residual cancer stem cells can help push survival treatment from being inactive inside the human body until certain conditions will allow them to reproduce, adding that when they come back, they could become more aggressive in time.

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer for women in the United States, just after skin cancer. In fact, an estimated 230,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 women will die of the disease this year alone, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For the study, researchers looked at incubated breast cancer cells in 96 separate dishes, meanwhile exposing each one to various doses of acetylsalicylic acid or aspirin.

Findings revealed that cells exposed to aspirin had more cell death when compared to those that were not. However, many cells that lived were unable to grow, altogether.

Furthermore, a second study in which the researchers used 20 mice models with aggressive tumors, giving them 75 mg of aspirin for a period of 15 days, also showed that those who had received aspirin had smaller tumor growth than other counterparts.

To further test this theory about aspirin and tumor growth, researchers gave the mice aspirin for 10 days before exposing them to cancer cells as well as 10 days after. Findings further revealed that mice had less cancer growth when compared to the control group.

According to Banerjee, the aspirin helped by blocking the self-renewal activity of the breast cancer cells. "Basically, they couldn't grow or reproduce," he said, in a news release.

However, potential users should first talk with their doctor, as there are associated side-effects with everyday aspirin use, including internal bleeding. But for some, the benefits may outweigh the risks.

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