Aspirin May Slow DNA Mutations, Fight Cancer

A UC San Francisco study found that an asprin regimine may be a cost-effective way to lower DNA mutations in abnormal cells in at least one pre-cancerous condition. UCSF reports:

Aspirin is known to lower risk for some cancers, and a new study led by a UC San Francisco scientist points to a possible explanation, with the discovery that aspirin slows the accumulation of DNA mutations in abnormal cells in at least one pre-cancerous condition.

“Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which are commonly available and cost-effective medications, may exert cancer-preventing effects by lowering mutation rates,” said Carlo Maley, PhD, a member of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and an expert on how cancers evolve in the body over time.

In the study, published June 13 in the online journal PLOS Genetics, Maley — working with gastroenterologist and geneticist Brian Reid, MD, PhD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center – analyzed biopsy samples from 13 patients with a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus who were tracked for six to 19 years. In an “observational crossover” study design, some patients started out taking daily aspirin for several years, and then stopped, while others started taking aspirin for the first time during observation. The goal was to track the rate of mutations in tissues sampled at different times.

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