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Aspirin could help battle aggressive breast cancers

Aspirin could help battle aggressive breast cancers
Courtesy: Reuters

A team in Manchester are starting a trial to see if the battle against aggressive breast cancer can be improved with aspirin.

Aspirin may help fight aggressive breast cancer by making stubborn tumours more responsive to anti-cancer drugs, according to doctors.

A team at Manchester’s The Christie NHS Foundation Trust are beginning a trial with patients with triple-negative breast cancer, a less common and particularly aggressive form that sees 8,000 diagnoses in the UK annually.


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Animal studies have shown encouraging results, but more research is required to see if it will have the same effect on humans.

It is thought aspirin’s anti-inflammatory effect is a helpful boost in cancer treatment, rather than the painkilling properties of the cheap and widely available drug.

The trial, part of the Breast Cancer Now Catalyst Programme, is part of a collaboration with Pfizer which will see 14 existing drugs, or those in development, used in research to try and speed up progress in the field.

Success with this trial could see further trials for aspirin as well as immunotherapy drug avelumab for incurable secondary triple-negative breast cancer, when the cancer cells have spread from the breasts to other parts of the body.

Trial lead Dr Anne Armstrong from The Christie said: "Not all breast cancers respond well to immunotherapy. Trialling the use of a drug like aspirin is exciting because it is so widely available and inexpensive to produce.


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"We hope our trial will show that, when combined with immunotherapy, aspirin can enhance its effects and may ultimately provide a safe new way to treat breast cancer."

Official guidance from Cancer Research UK says many questions need answering about the link between aspirin and cancer spread, and urge people not to take too much of any drug because of the increased risk of serious side effects.

Cancer Research UK also highlighted other ways to reduce cancer risk, including giving up smoking, eating a healthy diet, keeping a healthy weight, drinking less alcohol, and being more active.

(Cover Media/Reuters)

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