An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
By Denise Heady | May 1, 2017
A daily dose of aspirin can do more than just help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. As it turns out, the benefits of aspirin can also include cancer prevention.
A new study, led by City of Hope’s Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., found that women who take low-dose aspirin (also known as “baby” aspirin) at least three times a week have a 20 percent lower risk of developing HR-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer. HR-positive/HER2-negative breast cancers are among the most common breast cancer subtypes.
The study, published in the journal Breast Cancer Research, used data from more than 57,000 women who were part of the California Teachers Study and is the first to suggest that the reduction in risk is associated with low-dose aspirin.
Bernstein, professor at Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, told CNN that one reason for the finding may be that aspirin can lower inflammation.
"Simple things like obesity or inflammatory conditions are a risk factor for breast cancer, so this may be one reason it could help," she said.
Leslie Bernstein Headshot Cropped Background Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D.
This study differed from others that have looked at aspirin and cancer risk because it focused on dose levels and dose frequency. Bernstein was also able to look in detail at subtypes of breast cancer.
“The study found an interesting protective association between low-dose aspirin and breast cancer,” said lead author Christina A. Clarke, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California. “We did not by and large find associations with the other pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. We also did not find associations with regular aspirin since this type of medication is taken sporadically for headaches or other pain, and not daily for prevention of cardiovascular disease.”
Now that there is some data separating low-dose from higher-dose aspirin, more detailed research can be undertaken to understand the full value of low-dose aspirin for breast cancer prevention, noted Clarke.
Other collaborating authors include Alison J. Canchola, M.S., and Lisa M. Moy, M.P.H., from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, and Susan L. Neuhausen, Ph.D., The Morris & Horowitz Families Professor in Cancer Etiology & Outcomes Research, Nadia T. Chung, M.P.H., and James V. Lacey Jr., Ph.D., M.P.H., from City of Hope.
Research reported in Breast Cancer Research was supported through grants from the National Cancer Institute and the California Breast Cancer Research Fund under grant numbers R01 CA77398 and 97-10500. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


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