Women who take aspirin and diagnosed with breast cancer later in life have a high chance of living longer, according to some studies conducted in the past. Now, a new study has found some breast cancer patients who take aspirin have an even greater risk for mortality.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. Researchers speculate this effect may be down to the DNA methylation of genes found in breast cancer tumours.
Methylation is a chemical where amethyl group acts like tube light switches with the DNA molecule. This cause genetic activity to go on and off. This disruption can kill cells, hair loss and damage. Spotting the areas where these epigenetic changes occur can help scientists predict risks and better treatment options.
This is the first study to investigate the effect of DNA methylation in breast tumour tissues and cells in a patients' peripheral blood. "Chronic inflammation is a key player in the development of multiple cancer types, including breast cancer," study author Tengteng Wang, who led this study while she was a doctoral candidate in the epidemiology department at the Gillings School, told a news portal. Adding, "Aspirin is a major non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which has anti-inflammatory properties. Given this, substantial evidence from laboratory and population studies suggests that taking aspirin may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer."
However, further research is needed to fully understand aspirin's effect on breast cancer patients "Future research designed to replicate our findings should include a larger sample size to allow examination of patterns of aspirin use, and an enlarged panel of genes to explore the role of genetic predisposition in driving overall genetic instability on survival after breast cancer diagnosis," Wang told a news portal.
The study's findings were originally published in the journal CANCER.