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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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