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Daily aspirin linked to longer life for prostate cancer

Aspirin linked to lower risk of death in men with prostate cancer especially if at high risk

Dr. Kevin Choe, MD, PhD, assistant professor of radiation oncology at UT Southwestern, Texas, first author of this paper, along with other researchers reveal in a new multicenter study that taking aspirin on a regular basis is linked with a lower risk of death from prostate cancer, especially in those men who are at high risk.

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Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in men, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. One in six men will get prostate cancer in his lifetime and one in 36 will die from this disease.

“The results from this study suggest that aspirin prevents the growth of tumor cells in prostate cancer, especially in high-risk prostate cancer, for which we do not have a very good treatment currently.” “But we need to better understand the optimal use of aspirin before routinely recommending it to all prostate cancer patients,” Dr. Choe said in a newsroom release.

Past studies have examined aspirin and other anticoagulation medications and found those medications may inhibit cancer growth and metastasis however, the clinical information was limited.

In this study around 2,200 men participated with 37% of them receiving anticoagulants (warfarin, clopidogrel, enoxaparin, and/or aspirin) and had received either surgery or radiation treatment.

The findings had shown that 10-year mortality was significantly lower in men who were taking coagulants compared to those men who did not take coagulants. The risks of cancer recurrence and bone metastasis also were significantly lower. Further examination suggested that the benefit mainly came from taking aspirin as opposed to other coagulants.

The suggestion that aspirin, a frequently prescribed and relatively well-tolerated medication, may improve outcomes in prostate cancer is of particular interest, Dr. Choe said, since prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among men and the second-leading cancer killer in the U.S.

This study is published in the August 28 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

This is not the first study for Dr. Choe an aspirin to reduce the risk of dying from prostate cancer.

At the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology in San Diego on November 3, 2010, Dr. Choe had presented similar findings.

The study had involved over 5,000 men with localized cancer that had not spread beyond the prostate gland and were treated with surgery or radiation. Among those men 1,982 men were taking anticoagulants (aspirin, warfarin, clopidogrel and/or enoxaparin). Patients were classified as having high, intermediate or low risk of the disease.

The results had shown the men who were taking anticoagulants reduced the risk of dying from the disease by ten percent to four percent at ten years and the risk of developing metastasis was also reduced. The findings also showed that the benefit was greater in those that were classified as high risk.

This study also revealed that aspirin showed the most benefit in comparison to other anticoagulants.

The American Cancer Society most recent estimates for prostate cancer in the United States for 2012 are; about 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer and about 28,170 deaths from prostate cancer.

Even though prostate cancer can be a serious disease most men who have prostate cancer do not die from the disease. More than 2.5 million American men who have had prostate cancer are still alive today.

More information on prostate cancer is available online at the American Cancer Society.