Over the years studies here and there have suggested that aspirin may benefit some cancer patient, but a new study shows that its colon cancer patients who could benefit the most.
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute reviewed 964 cases of patients suffering from colon cancer and discovered that when patients whose tumors had a mutated form of the PIK3CA gene took aspirin after being diagnosed, they lived significantly longer than patients without the mutation, CNN reports.
The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The Associated Press reported that five years after their cancers were diagnosed, 97 percent patients that took aspirin were still alive, compared to 74 percent of those who did not take it. While the news is promising, it won’t help everyone with colon cancer. Only about one-sixth of all colon cancer patients have the mutated gene and might be helped by aspirin. Also, the study was not designed to study the effects of aspirin, and those using it were taking it for their own reasons.
Aspirin is highly available over the counter, cheap, and effective in treating pain and reducing damage during a heart attack. If it can help patients survive colon cancer, it is a significant addition to the drug’s resume.
“Although these data are exciting and intriguing, they need to considered as preliminary and will require validation in prospective studies, given the small number of patients included in this study,” Dr. Boris Pasche, director of hematology/oncology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said.
The aspirin dosage being used by the colon cancer patient did not seem to be relevant, so long as aspirin was regularly taken by those with the mutation, their survival rates increased.