The promise of #aspirin in #cancer treatment

 In Aspirin, Cancer, Drug Development

A lot of new studies shed light on what happens when aspirin is used for chemoprevention of cancer cells – and how this could lead to new treatments. Though there’s substantial research ongoing over the last 20 years, many of them suggest a solid scientific case on the proposition that “Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin can be used in Colorectal cancer (CRC) chemoprevention”. Amongst the various proposed chemopreventive interventions, aspirin is perhaps the agent with the strongest body of evidence that supports widespread use to significantly reduce the population burden of CRC.

How aspirin plays a key role in cancer treatment?

Several epidemiological studies and randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in patients with colorectal cancer syndromes, have results proven that aspirin reduces incidence of colorectal neoplasia. Studies on cardiovascular prevention of RCTs linked to cancer outcomes state that aspirin use at any dose has reduced the risk of CRC by 24% and of CRC associated mortality by 35% after a delay of 8-10 years.

Though epidemiological studies have demonstrated a significant correlation between regular aspirin use and reduced colon cancer incidence and mortality; the pathways by which it exerts its anticancer effects are yet to be explored.

One such recent hypotheses suggest that aspirin’s anti-cancer effect is due to downregulation of c-Myc gene expression. According to these studies, it suggests that the blood platelets tend to increase the levels of oncoprotein c-MYC that support early cancer cells in spreading. Though, one of the biological functions of the c-MYC regulator is to control the life-and-death cycle of cells, the synthesis of proteins, and the cell’s metabolism, the research has shown that in human cancers, this oncoprotein is overexpressed. Aspirin reduces the ability of blood platelets to raise levels of the c-MYC oncoprotein and notably this is the first time a study has proven it.

When asked upon the promise of aspirin in cancer treatments and overdose, Eric J Jacobs, Ph.D. an American Cancer Society researcher says “Research on aspirin and cancer prevention is definitely promising. It now appears possible that, over the long term, the same daily low-dose aspirin that can help prevent heart attacks could also help lower risk of several cancers. At the same time, even low-dose aspirin is a real drug, with potentially serious side effects. These include increased risk of ulcers and stomach bleeding, which can occasionally be serious enough to require blood transfusions and even cause death. Aspirin use is not right for everyone”.

Other hypotheses alo suggest that aspirin use after a cancer diagnosis improves overall survival rate; whereas few studies also state that there are positive results from randomised controlled trials designed to demonstrate that aspirin can prevent cancer in those with a hereditary predisposition, have led to a re-evaluation of aspirin as a potential anti-cancer agent both for chemoprevention as well as treatment of cancer.

Key findings:

Though there are numerous studies that are ongoing on finding the optimum use of aspirin in cancer treatment, most of the studies claim to agree with the below mentioned facts:

  • With an average follow-up for more than a decade’s study, the researchers state that daily aspirin use was associated with a 36% reduced risk of cancer with distant spread
  • Patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer had a reduced risk of 74% by having their disease spread when they took an aspirin daily
  • Though the daily aspirin usage has shown a 36% reduction in cancer deaths amongst the patients with solid tumors, it did not help patients with blood cancers such as leukemia

Studies related to Aspirin being helpful in treating Cancer

Since the breakthrough on usage of aspirin in reducing the inhibition of cancer cells for certain cancers like prostate and colorectal almost a decade ago; more and more studies and clinical trials are being run by many institutes, research labs, and organisations which can lead to novel therapies for cancer, nearly a ~100 clinical trials are in progress to maximize the benefits of aspirin usage in chemoprevention of colorectal cancer. More than 2000 publications are made available about the studies and researches done on aspirin as a potential drug to keep cancer at bay or prolong the lifetime of a patient suffering with cancer.

How can big data technologies help in simplifying your research?

For any researcher, it is a tedious and challenging task to go through the details of all these publications and trials. As I was researching I’ve come across this platform iPlexusTM wherein the users can get direct access to publications, clinical trials, congresses and theses & dissertations all at one place.

iPlexusTMThe Intelligence Machine helps its users in finding the apt publications and clinical trials data to proceed with their research. It is an artificial intelligence machine which can predict and analyse the patterns from vastly available clinical trials data and publications data. It can also help in addressing research data needs of a clinician on certain aspects such as drug repositioning, cell signaling, proteins and genes responsible for certain therapeutic areas, etc.

With studies like “aspirin can treat cancer” coming into daylight, promising inexpensive treatment options to cure cancer, it can also motivate other researchers in finding out inexpensive cure methodologies for many other horrible yet incurable disease treatments which are exorbitantly priced in today’s monetarily defined world.

For many more novel therapies to see the daylight, concepts such as drug repurposing, cell signaling, etc. can be used. Data insights that are real-time, comprehensive and cost-effective while finding the risks and benefits of a gene/protein/drug by providing the user with trial landscape details, drug/gene highlights, approvals and identifications, etc. we recommend to take a glance at the biomedical literature available at iPlexus.

By Jhansi Chitralekha
Senior Technical Writer @ Innoplexus

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