Prostate cancer patients who take aspirin in addition to radiation therapy or surgery may be able to cut their risk of dying of the disease by more than half, according to a study presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology in San Diego.
"Evidence has shown that anticoagulants may interfere with cancer growth and spread," lead researcher Kevin Choe said. "If the major effect of anticoagulants is preventing metastasis [the ability of cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body], this may be why previous clinical trials with anticoagulation medications produced mixed results, since most patients in these trials already had metastasis. If the cancer has already metastasized, then anticoagulants may not be as beneficial."
The study involved 5,275 men whose cancer had not spread beyond the prostate gland (localized prostate cancer) and were treated with surgery or radiation, two of the most common treatments for prostate cancer. Of these patients, 1,982 were taking anticoagulants.
The results showed that the use of anticoagulants reduced the risk of dying from the disease from 10 percent to 4 percent at 10 years. The risk of developing bone metastasis was also reduced. In addition, findings reveal that the benefit appeared even greater among patients diagnosed with high-risk prostate cancer. This is exciting news as patients with high-risk disease have the most aggressive cancer.
"Findings from this study are promising, however, further studies are necessary before the addition of aspirin to prostate cancer therapy becomes standard treatment," Choe concluded.
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Source: American Society for Radiation Oncology