Bowel cancer: Daily aspirin could help prevent or 'slow down' colorectal cancer - new study finds
Scientists have now discovered that aspirin induces the production of two tumour-suppressing molecules
A new study suggests that taking a low-dose aspirin each day could help prevent bowel cancer - or slow down its progression. The research, published in science journal Cell Death and Disease, was carried out by scientists from Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich.
After dozens of other studies seemed to indicate that patients with heart disease who took low doses of aspirin to help manage their condition also had a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, the team set out to discover exactly how the drug works against bowel cancer. This comes after ten studies of more than 8,000 colorectal cancer cases showed that taking aspirin was associated with a 29% drop in developing the disease.
A further meta-analysis of four randomised controlled trials with more than 14,000 cancer patients found that taking a low or high dose single tablet daily - for five or more years - reduced the long-term risk by 24% - while 27 more studies of over 230,000 cancer patients showed that aspirin use after diagnosis was associated with an improvement in colorectal cancer-specific survival.
The scientists have now discovered that aspirin induces the production of two tumour-suppressing microRNA molecules. Study co-author Heiko Hermeking told SWNS: "Colonoscopy-based screening strategies have demonstrated their potential for decreasing the incidence and mortality of CRC [colorectal cancer]. Another strategy to reduce CRC occurrence is the use of chemo-preventive drugs. Among them, aspirin is perhaps the most promising substance.
"CRC patients treated with a daily low-dose aspirin are less likely to develop advanced stage CRC, suggesting that aspirin affects the progression of established CRCs," he continued. "We challenge the notion that aspirin prevents cancer through a single, dominant pathway and propose an integrative multi-pathway model for its mode of action, with [the microRNA molecules] representing important effectors... Aspirin could therefore be employed therapeutically in such cases in the future."
Bowel cancer is the third most common form of cancer worldwide, with around 1.9 million newly diagnosed cases and 900,000 deaths every year. In the UK there are around 43,000 cases a year, with nearly 17,000 deaths. Only 53% of sufferers will survive more than 10 years after diagnosis.