AUG 13, 2019 8:31 AM PDT

Aspirin: The Good and Bad for Breast Cancer Survivors

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Early research has indicated that aspirin usage may increase the survival rate among women with breast cancer. These studies were based on aspirin’s anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Unfortunately, a portion of these women who took aspirin had an increased risk of mortality. However, a portion of aspirin users with breast cancer appeared to have a higher risk of mortality. It appears that this risk may be due to the process of ‘DNA methylation’ of breast cancer genes or genes in the peripheral blood.

The process of methylation is purely chemical and involves a methyl group ‘switching-on’ or ‘switching-off’ genetic activity has it goes along a DNA molecule. DNA methylation can involve chemical shifts that lead to fatal consequences. The study was the first to observe the effects of methylating DNA in samples of breast tumor issues and peripheral blood cells circulating in patients as well as understanding how these effects are associated with aspirin usage and mortality rates in women with breast cancer.

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

Learn more about DNA Methylation and Cancer:

"Future research designed to replicate our findings should include a larger sample size to allow examination of patterns of aspirin use, and an enlarged panel of genes to explore the role of genetic predisposition in driving overall genetic instability on survival after breast cancer diagnosis," said Wang and her mentor Marilie Gammon, a professor of epidemiology at the Gillings School and senior author on the study.

Findings of the study were published in the American Cancer Society's interdisciplinary journal CANCER, and indicates that the relationship between aspirin use and mortality rates remains inconclusive and inconsistent.

Source: UNC Chapel Hill

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
NOV 09, 2020
Microbiology
Fighting COVID-19 with Help From Llamas
NOV 09, 2020
Fighting COVID-19 with Help From Llamas
Camelids, which include llamas, alpacas and camels have immune systems that generate two kinds of antibodies when confro ...
NOV 26, 2020
Cardiology
Possible Cardioprotective Effects of the Diabetes Drug Empagliflozin
NOV 26, 2020
Possible Cardioprotective Effects of the Diabetes Drug Empagliflozin
Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are often associated with each other, as many issues caused by diabetes promote hear ...
DEC 15, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Who Should Get the COVID Vaccine First?
DEC 15, 2020
Who Should Get the COVID Vaccine First?
Drug developers’ frantic hunt for vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 has finally begun to bear fruit, with several vaccin ...
DEC 28, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
How an Herbal Compound May Fight Pancreatic Cancer
DEC 28, 2020
How an Herbal Compound May Fight Pancreatic Cancer
For centuries, Chinese practitioners have used herbs to treat all kinds of ailments. New research has shown that one of ...
DEC 30, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Reduces Stress and Anxiety in Over 95% of Cases
DEC 30, 2020
Cannabis Reduces Stress and Anxiety in Over 95% of Cases
Whether cannabis will induce feelings of relaxation or anxiety often feels like a coin toss. Now, however, researchers f ...
JAN 16, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Scientists Discover Contents of an Ancient Mayan Drug Containers
JAN 16, 2021
Scientists Discover Contents of an Ancient Mayan Drug Containers
Washington State University researchers found a non-tobacco plant in containers of an ancient Maya drug. "While it ...
Loading Comments...