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Aspirin May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
A University of Texas at Austin professor makes a medical breakthrough. Today, her findings were published in the journal Cancer Research. Her team found aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may reduce breast cancer recurrence.
"I think the hardest part was telling my family, my mom. That was the hardest part," said Sarah Geis. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 23 years old.
To help patients like Geis and those who are overweight or obese, these UT graduate students are working on several studies.
"We need to not be thinking okay we just give more drug to the patient if they're bigger, we just give them more drugs. We need to understand what's driving obesity-induced breast cancer," said Linda deGraffenried, an associate professor of nutritional sciences at UT.
deGraffenried's research on the benefit of aspirin in breast cancer patients is grabbing national attention.
"I suffer from headaches so I take Advil or Aleve, so that could be a huge step," said Geis. "Because that's something that's so readily available for anyone."
"Inflammation is often times associated with the Cox-2 pathway, and so when you take aspirin, ibuprofen, aleve, all of those the way that they're working is to suppress Cox-2." deGraffenried explains the Cox-2 enzyme can make people resistant to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. "If you can suppress that, that's where you get the benefit."
In her retrospective study, deGraffenried looked at postmenopausal overweight or obese patients receiving hormone therapy as part of their treatment. She found those who were not taking painkillers like aspirin had a 12 percent recurrence rate, but those who were only saw a six percent recurrence.
"I think I was probably as surprised as anyone when it came back with as dramatic effect as what we saw," said deGraffenried. "I mean we were expecting to see some benefit, but I don't know that I ever expected to see the 50 percent recurrence that we did see."
The next step in proving NSAIDs can reduce breast cancer recurrence would be a clinical trial.
"I can't imagine what it would be like if this were to be true and it just would be amazing," said Geis.
deGraffenried says they will know in October if the Department of Defense will fund their clinical trial. If so, it will be up and running in June of 2015.
To learn more, click here.
By Deeda Payton