Low-Dose Aspirin May Help Against Ovarian Cancer

“This study gives us a new perspective on whether aspirin and non-aspirin NSAIDs can impact cancer risk. Not only does it look at ovarian cancer, which hasn’t been studied before, our sample size is three-quarter of a million women who were followed for several decades,” Shelley Tworoger, senior study author and associate center director for population science at the Moffitt Cancer Center, said in a center news release.

“The results of the study support that aspirin can reduce ovarian cancer risk, but further studies will need to be performed before a recommendation of daily aspirin can be made,” Tworoger added.

In a second study, researchers from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and the Moffitt Cancer Center used the Nurses’ Health Studies to collect data on nearly 1,000 women already diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

The investigators found that women who used aspirin and non-aspirin NSAIDs after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer experienced as much as a 30 percent improvement in survival.

The results of the study were published in the journal The Lancet Oncology.

“To our knowledge, this study contributes the first comprehensive assessment of use of several types of common analgesic medications, such as aspirin and non-aspirin NSAIDs, after diagnosis in relation to ovarian cancer survival,” said Melissa Merritt, an assistant research professor at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center.

“Our work demonstrates the importance of common medication in increasing survival rates of ovarian cancer, and this will encourage more studies to be conducted to confirm the results and broaden the discovery,” she explained in the news release.

Both studies relied on retrospective, observational data, so they were unable to confirm a cause-and-effect relationship, only an association.

Still, the evidence for an effect does seem to be there, said Dr. Adi Davidov, who directs gynecology at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.

He called the results “intriguing,” and believes that “we can now add an NSAID to further reduce the risk of cancer.”

Kramer added that “since aspirin has anti-inflammatory properties and is a relatively well-tolerated medication with few side effects, seeking its benefits for this deadly disease makes a great deal of sense.”

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