Friday February 28, 2020

Aspirin can restrict the growth of breast cancer, says Indian- origin researcher

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New York: A study led by an Indian-origin researcher has found a daily dose of aspirin is effective at blocking breast tumour growth in laboratory tests.

Aspirin is used worldwide as a ‘blood thinner’ and to relieve inflammation, pain and fever.

“The trick is to ensure conditions around cancer stem cells are not conducive for reproduction, something aspirin seems to be able to do,” said Sushanta Banerjee, professor at the University of Kansas Medical Centre in the US.

“We could give aspirin after chemotherapy to prevent relapse and keep the pressure on, which we saw was effective in both the laboratory and the mouse model, and we could use it preventatively,” Banerjee noted.

Experts suggest patients to consult with a doctor before starting a daily aspirin regimen. The drug is known to thin the blood and increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.

“Of course there is a risk, but you have to weigh that against the risks of cancer,” Banerjee said.

To test his theory that aspirin could alter the molecular signature in breast cancer cells enough so that they would not spread, Banerjee used both incubated cells and mouse models.

For the cell test, breast cancer cells were placed in 96 separate plates and then incubated. Just over half the cultures were exposed to differing doses of acetylsalicylic acid, commonly known as aspirin.

According to Banerjee, exposure to aspirin dramatically increased the rate of cell death in the test. For those cells that did not die off, many were left unable to grow.

The second part of his study involved studying 20 mice with aggressive tumours.

For 15 days, half of the mice were given the human equivalent of 75 milligrams of aspirin per day, which is considered a low dose.

At the end of the study period, the tumours were weighed. Mice that received aspirin had tumours that were, on an average, 47 percent smaller.

To show that aspirin could also prevent cancer, the researchers gave an additional group of mice aspirin for 10 days before exposing them to cancer cells.

After 15 days, those mice had significantly less cancerous growth than the control group.

“We found aspirin caused these residual cancer cells to lose their self-renewal properties,” Banerjee said.

The study is to appear in the forthcoming issue of the journal Laboratory Investigation. (IANS)

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Here’s How Dairy Milk Consumption Can Lead to Breast Cancer

Dairy milk intake may up breast cancer risk

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Dairy milk cancer
Moderate amounts of dairy milk consumption can increase women's risk of breast cancer -- up to 80 per cent depending on the amount consumed. Pixabay

Researchers have found that even relatively moderate amounts of dairy milk consumption can increase women’s risk of breast cancer — up to 80 per cent depending on the amount consumed.

“Fairly strong evidence that either dairy milk or some other factor closely related to drinking dairy milk is a cause of breast cancer in women,” said study first author Gary E. Fraser from Loma Linda University in the US. “Consuming as little as 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dairy milk per day was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer of 30 per cent,” Fraser said.

By drinking up to one cup per day, the associated risk went up to 50 per cent, and for those drinking two to three cups per day, the risk increased further to 70 per cent to 80 per cent, the researchers said. For the findings, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, dietary intakes of nearly 53,000 North American women were evaluated for the study, all of whom were initially free of cancer and were followed for nearly eight years.

Dietary intakes were estimated from food frequency questionnaires (FFQ), also repeated 24 hour recalls, and a baseline questionnaire had questions about demographics, family history of breast cancer, physical activity, alcohol consumption, hormonal and other medication use, breast cancer screening, and reproductive and gynecological history.

Dairy milk
Consuming as little as 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dairy milk per day was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer of 30 per cent. Pixabay

By the end of the study period, there were 1,057 new breast cancer cases during follow-up. No clear associations were found between soy products and breast cancer, independent of dairy. But, when compared to low or no milk consumption, higher intakes of dairy calories and dairy milk were associated with greater risk of breast cancer, independent of soy intake, the study said.

The researchers noted that the results had minimal variation when comparing intake of full fat versus reduced or nonfat milks; there were no important associations noted with cheese and yogurt.

“However,” he said, “dairy foods, especially milk, were associated with increased risk, and the data predicted a marked reduction in risk associated with substituting soymilk for dairy milk.”

According to the researchers, possible reasons for these associations between breast cancer and dairy milk may be the sex hormone content of dairy milk, as the cows are of course lactating, and often about 75 per cent of the dairy herd is pregnant. Breast cancer in women is a hormone-responsive cancer.

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Further, intake of dairy and other animal proteins in some reports is also associated with higher blood levels of a hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which is thought to promote certain cancers. “Dairy does have some positive nutritional qualities, but these need to be balanced against other possible, less helpful effects,” Fraser concluded. (IANS)