According to a new study, the prognosis of patients with colon cancer may be improved by simply consuming aspirin!
The research looked at close to 1000 patients with colon cancer over a number of years and determined that of those who took aspirin regularly, 37.9% died compared to 48.5% for people who did not consume aspirin regularly. The study tracked patients for between 4 and 10 years.
The catch was that the benefit was only seen in patients with a certain type of tumor. The tumor in question produces a HLA class I antigen protein which is involved in the immune systems response to cancer cells. Researchers don’t yet understand the full interaction between this type of tumor, the protein and the immune system so more research is needed.
One of the researchers, Gerrit Jan Liefers, said of the results: “If our results are confirmed by others and aspirin is studied as a treatment in a proper phase three randomized trial, then we would have a valid new anti-cancer treatment that is both safe and cheap”. The research was carried out by the University Medical Center in the Netherlands.
This is especially exciting because most cancer treatments are very expensive, and aspirin is one of the cheapest pharmaceuticals you can purchase. According to Dr Liefers, “In a world were new targeted therapies usually cost thousands of dollars and most have serious side effects, this would mean great progress”
Colon cancer is still one of the most common forms of cancer in the world and it is responsible for over 50’000 deaths each year in the United States. Over 140’000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year in the United States as well, so any progress in the treatment of this disease is of huge importance.
Researchers are now looking to understand the link between aspirin and colon cancer, because it’s not immediately clear why this effect exists. They speculate that the aspirin is hampering the ability of cancer cells from the tumors to circulate through the body and develop into new growths.
Researchers urge caution to people who currently have colon cancer, because random drug trials need to take place before we know for certain that the link exists between aspirin and colon cancer mitigation.
That being said, for most people there is no harm in taking aspirin so there is in effect “nothing to lose” by taking it if you have been diagnosed with colon cancer. Of course consult your doctor before changing or adding medications, because various drugs can interact in sometimes unpredictable ways.