Wednesday June 19, 2019

Aspirin, ibuprofen Can Improve Survival Rate of Cancer Patients

The researchers pointed out that their results need to be corroborated in a prospective trial

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Breast Cancer
Nano technology offers hope for better cancer testing. Pixabay

Regular use of a common type of medication such as aspirin and ibuprofen significantly improves the survival rate for a third or more patients with head and neck cancer, a new study has found.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, for at least six months provided “markedly prolonged” improved five-year survival rate from 25 per cent to 78 per cent for patients whose cancer contained a specific altered gene, known as PIK3CA, researchers from the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) reported.

The survival rate for patients whose gene was not altered in their tumour was unaffected by NSAID use.

“Our results suggest that the use of NSAIDs could significantly improve outcomes for not only head and neck cancer patients, but also patients with other cancers that contained the PIK3CA mutation,” said UCSF professor Jennifer R. Grandis.

Aspirin, Ovarian cancer
Aspirin pills are arranged on a counter in New York, Aug. 23, 2018. New studies find most people won’t benefit from taking daily low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke. (VOA)

“The magnitude of the apparent advantage is strong, and could potentially have a positive impact on human health,” Grandis said.

Within head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, PIK3CA is the most commonly altered oncogene, with 34 per cent of all tumours carrying mutations that activate the PIK3CA gene.

In head and neck cancer associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV), PIK3CA is mutated in more than half of tumours.

In the research, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, 266 patients from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center whose tumours were surgically removed were investigated. The majority (84 per cent) smoked and 67 per cent received post-surgery chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.Median overall survival was 66 months.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

Altogether, 75 tumours (28 per cent) in the study had an activating alteration of the PIK3CA gene.

Among the patients who regularly used NSAIDs, 93 per cent used aspirin as a component of the NSAID regiment, and 73 per cent took aspirin exclusively. Most of the regular users started on the aspirin therapy following their head and neck cancer diagnosis.

Through analysis of both cell line and mouse studies, the researchers speculated that NSAIDs likely blocked tumour growth by reducing the production of an inflammatory molecule called prostaglandin E2.

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The researchers pointed out that their results need to be corroborated in a prospective trial.

“NSAID use likely confers a statistically and clinically significant advantage in overall survival in PIK3CA-altered head and neck cancer through direct interaction between the PI3K and COX pathways,” said Grandis. (IANS)

Next Story

GRAIL Announces Significant Progress on Blood Tests to Detect Cancer

Grail's new results are from 2,300 people

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GRAIL, Blood Tests, Detect, Cancer
FILE A patient has her blood drawn at a hospital in Philadelphia to monitor her cancer treatment. VOA

A California company says its experimental blood test was able to detect many types of cancer at an early stage and gave very few false alarms in a study that included people with and without the disease.

Many companies are trying to develop early detection “liquid biopsy” tests that capture bits of DNA that cancer cells shed into blood.

GRAIL, Blood Tests, Detect, Cancer
A California company says its experimental blood test was able to detect many types of cancer at an early stage. VOA

Grail’s new results are from 2,300 people. The test detected 55% of known cancers and gave false alarms for 1%. It also accurately suggested where the cancer may be about 90% of the time.

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The company gave results in news release Friday and will report them Saturday at a conference in Chicago. They have not been published or reviewed by other scientists. (VOA)