Tuesday March 26, 2019

Aspirin- Risks and Benefits

Biggest Studies on Aspirin Show Risks Outweigh Benefits for Many People

Aspirin, Ovarian cancer
New ingestible, expanding pill to track ulcers, stomach cancer.

Doctors have long recommended that people who have had a heart attack or stroke take a daily low-dose aspirin to help prevent further heart problems. Now major research has tested whether aspirin can help prevent first-time heart problems. The results of three separate studies show it cannot.

One study looked at more than 12,000 patients at moderate risk of heart problems because of other health issues, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoking. The results showed no benefit.

Doctor J. Michael Gaziano of Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggests that is because those people already were taking other medications that lowered their risk.

“Risk that a person has changes over time, and some of that change is due to some of the things that we do, like managing their risk factors and taking care of them when they develop symptoms,” Gaziano said.

Dr. Jane Armitage of the University of Oxford led another study of more than 15,000 adults with diabetes that found the benefits of aspirin were outweighed by a greater risk of serious bleeding.

“We also saw almost a 30 percent increased risk in major bleeding,” Armitage said. “So that was bleeding bad enough to get you into hospital. Mainly from the gut, or bleeding into the eye or the brain and if it was into the eye, it was bad enough to threaten your sight.”

Based on results of the studies, disclosed over the weekend at the European Society of Cardiology, doctors say aspirin best benefits patients who already have heart disease. (VOA)

Next Story

Aspirin, ibuprofen Can Improve Survival Rate of Cancer Patients

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

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 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)