Aspirin comes to the rescue again, as a potential prostate cancer treatment option. A new study presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in San Diego, shows that it may cut the risk of dying for men with prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate gland. “The study showed that prostate cancer patients taking blood thinning, or anticoagulant medication, specifically aspirin, had a lower risk of mortality, more so in high-risk patients,” said Dr. David Samadi, a robotic prostatectomy expert, as well as the new Vice Chairman, Department of Urology and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
In a study group of more 5,000 men with prostate cancer, 2,000 were taking aspirin or another anticoagulant; their risk of dying from the cancer was reduced by more than half. Researchers found that a blood thinning medication could lower the incidence of death for those patients with localized prostate cancer, by about 50 percent. “Prostate cancer that spread to the bone was reduced while PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood levels were also better regulated,” said Dr. Samadi.
Aspirin has existed in every medicine cabinet since the 1800’s and continues to be the most effective drug around. It is the least expensive and most versatile drug that regulates so many conditions. “It’s almost a miracle drug, reducing inflammation, fever and it can save your life with a variety of conditions and cancers,” said Dr. Samadi.
Aspirin blocks the production of prostaglandins, which regulate pain and inflammation. However, it also blocks prostaglandins that protect the stomach lining, resulting in stomach bleeding. These nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, which include ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve), cause the most stomach irritation. Coated or buffered aspirins, such as Ecotrin or Bufferin respectively, can reduce stomach issues. Still, aspirin is versatile enough, in specific dosages, to protect the cardiovascular system by preventing blood clots and relaxing constricted blood vessels, while not irritating the stomach.
“Aspirin has evolved from being a mere painkiller to more of an anti-platelet and anti-inflammatory agent,” said Dr. Samadi. He advised patients not to take NSAIDs at the same time, since they pretty much cancel each other out, thereby reducing aspirin’s clotting ability. “It’s best to wait eight to 12 hours between drugs to reap the benefit of both, for example, taking the painkiller in the morning and aspirin at night,” said Samadi.
When it comes to prostate cancer, aspirin may be the key in fighting prostate cancer and preventing metastasis, or advanced prostate tumor spread. Previous studies had mixed results, perhaps because the patient already had metastasis. “If the cancer had already metastasized, then it stands to reason that aspirin may not have been as beneficial,” said Dr. Samadi. Samadi believes that the prostate cancer news from this study are promising, but as always, more research is necessary before using aspirin as a standard treatment of prostate cancer.Press Releases