The recent research showed that a higher proportion of patients who took regular doses of aspirin lived for longer compared with those who did not. The trial was run over a five year period. The trial involved 964 people diagnosed with various stages of colon cancer.
The trial was a joint activity between Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School (HMS), and funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Data was taken from the Nurses’ Health Study
and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The research was led by HMS research fellow in medicine Xiaoyun Liao
According to the Harvard Gazette
, the survival rate for those who took aspirin was 97% compared with a survival rate of 74% for those who did not take the drug. However, for patients who had colon cancer but did not have the particular gene mutation (called PIK3CA) the survival rate was no higher amongst those who took aspirin.
Therefore, as CBC News
cautions, aspirin was effective against certain types of colon cancer only. Furthermore, the results were based on one study and more extensive trials will be required. There are also risks with taking aspirin arising from bleeding in the stomach.
Nevertheless, for the results that were obtained the relatively simple, and significantly inexpensive aspirin, was as effective as more expensive gene therapy techniques. It also stands that some other studies have indicated that aspirin is effective against other types of cancers especially colorectal tumors.
The findings were summarised in the New England Journal of Medicine.