By: Dan Sperling, MD
An earlier article summarized two studies suggesting that regular aspirin use may have a protective effect against recurrence of prostate cancer (PCa) after treatment. A new study published in the Italian journal Tumori (Tumors) demonstrates that daily aspirin use may influence the development of less dangerous prostate cancer than would otherwise have occurred.[i]
Based on evidence that aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) might reduce PCa risk through a chemopreventive mechanism, the author and his team studied the prediagnostic use (or non-use) of aspirin and the effect it had on 385 patients who had radical prostatectomies between January 2002 and December 2007. Patients were divided into two groups:
- Group A (174 men) took 100mg of aspirin once daily for two or more years
- Group B (211 men) did not take NSAIDs, or only occasionally.
The following factors were taken into account in analyzing the correlation between NSAID use and aggression level of prostate cancer: preoperative PSA, PCa Gleason and stage (based on pathology of removed glands), percentage of positive margins, percentage of positive lymph nodes, and biochemical recurrence.
There was no statistical difference in preoperative PSA levels between the two groups. The following table shows how the two groups compared:
|Group A||Group B|
|Positive surgical margins||18.9%||28.9%|
|Positive lymph nodes (patients with positive surgical margins)||27.2%||47.5%|
|Biochemical recurrence (average follow-up 4.6 years)||22.7%||32.7%|
Regarding the incidence of Gleason 7 and T2 stage PCa, the difference between the two groups reflected similar results to the above statistics: Group A had significantly lower incidence of Gleason 7 and stage T2. Thus, the daily use of aspirin was “significantly associated with a lower risk of disease progression…”
The author expressed the belief that his team’s research lends further evidence to the hypothesis that NSAIDs exercise chemopreventive activity against PCa. The article cautions that further research into this correlation, as well as dosage, age to initiate treatment, and for how long needs to be done.
To date, there is no specific recommendation for the use of NSAIDs as a prostate cancer prevention, or risk-lowering agent. This article is presented to describe the type of research being done, with the encouragement that the reader consult with his own physician before making a decision about NSAID use in connection with prostate or any other type of cancer.
[i] Dell’Atti L. Correlation between prolonged use of aspirin and prognostic risk in prostate cancer. Tumori. 2014 Sep-Oct;100(5):486-90.