Aspirin may help some survive breast cancer - but make the disease more aggressive in others

Mail Online | 8/12/2019 | Mia De Graaf Health Editor For
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Aspirin may be a Russian Roulette for people with breast cancer, according to new research.

It could boost patients' odds of survival, as previous studies have found - likely by dampening inflammation.

Breast - Cancer - Patients - Theory - Question

However, that hasn't always rung true for all breast cancer patients, calling the theory into question.

Today, researchers at the University of North Carolina have suggested a reason: it may all boil down to the genetic characteristics of the tumor and the patient.

Evidence - Today - Journal - CANCER - Chemicals

Their evidence, published today in the journal CANCER, suggests the chemicals in aspirin may affect DNA methylation, a process that regulates which genes express themselves.

In some, it may work well, hampering the tumor, and strengthening the body's defenses - but in others, it may do quite the opposite.

Inflammation - Player - Development - Cancer - Types

'Chronic inflammation is a key player in the development of multiple cancer types, including breast cancer,' first author Tengteng Wang, who led this study while she was a doctoral candidate in the epidemiology department at the Gillings School, said in a press release.

'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.'

Dr - Wang - Conundrum - DNA - Methylation

Dr Wang is hardly the first to look into this aspirin-cancer conundrum, but the first to look at how DNA methylation might be involved.

It is a process we have known about for decades but it is only in the 21st century that scientists have started to draw more solid links between DNA methylation and disease - and how commonly prescribed medications could play a role.

Dr - Wang

Dr Wang, along with her...
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