Friday, June 21, 2013

Scientists Explore How Aspirin May Guard Against Cancer

Aspirin, other anti-inflammatories seem to slow rate of gene mutations that can lead to disease, 

study says

By Robert Preidt

THURSDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- Aspirin and related drugs may fight cancer by lowering rates 
of DNA mutation, a small new study suggests.

It's known that aspirin reduces the risk for some cancers, and these findings point to a possible explanation, 
according to the researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

They analyzed tissue samples from 13 patients with a condition called Barrett's esophagus, which can 
lead to esophageal cancer. The patients were followed for between six and 19 years. Patients took aspirin 
at different times during the study.

Mutations in tissue samples collected while patients were on aspirin had accumulated an average of 
10 times more slowly than in samples obtained when patients were not taking aspirin, according to the 
study, which was published online June 13 in the journal PLoS Genetics. The study did not, however, 
prove a cause-and-effect link between aspirin and slower rates of gene mutations.

"Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which are commonly available and cost-effective 
medications, may exert cancer-preventing effects by lowering mutation rates," researcher Carlo Maley, 
a member of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, said in a university news release.

"This is the first study to measure genome-wide mutation rates of a pre-malignant tissue within patients for 
more than a decade, and the first to evaluate how aspirin affects those rates," he added.

Maley said aspirin may lower DNA mutation rates by reducing inflammation, and plans to further investigate 
this theory.
More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cancer prevention.
SOURCE: University of California, San Francisco, news release, June 17, 2013