Separate studies have found that aspirin and tamoxifen, a drug initially developed for breast cancer, may be effective treatments for prostate cancer.
One study found that among men with prostate cancer, those who took aspirin for other medical conditions were nearly half as likely to die of their cancer as the men who didn’t take aspirin.
The study involved nearly 6,000 men of which about one-third were taking aspirin or other anticoagulants. Over 10-years, the researchers calculated, the prostate cancer death rate for those taking aspirin was 3 percent, compared with 8 percent for those who did not.
The aspirin users were also significantly less likely to experience a recurrence of prostate cancer or have the disease spread to the bones.
This research adds to the growing body of evidence that aspirin may be effective for many types of cancer throughout the body. Aspirin use has already been found to have an effect on colon cancer.
As for how aspirin works on cancer, Dr. Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society said he believes that aspirin’s anti-inflammatory properties may play a role in the prevention of both heart disease and cancer.
“Inflammation may not cause a cancer, but it may promote cancer — it may be the fertilizer that makes it grow,” Dr. Brawley said.
Tamoxifen for Side-Effects
In the tamoxifen study, researchers analyzed the results of four independent clinical trials that examined the use of tamoxifen to manage the side effects of a common prostate cancer treatment, androgen-suppression therapy.
Androgen-suppression, which blocks testosterone activity, can slow the progression of advanced prostate cancer. But these drugs can cause side effects such as breast enlargement and pain that may stop men from undergoing the treatment.
During the one-year study, the researchers found that tamoxifen reduced the risk of breast enlargement and breast pain in men at quarterly exams compared to men who did not take tamoxifen. The drug was also minimized painful breast symptoms better than radiation therapy or treatment with the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole, which is also used to treat breast cancer.
As a result, few of the men treated with tamoxifen stopped taking their medication during their year of treatment. And there were no significant side effects of tamoxifen reported.
New York Times