Page last updated at 23:05 GMT, Sunday, 28 March 2004 00:05 UK

Aspirin 'fights ovarian cancer'

This is more evidence that aspirin may fight cancer

Aspirin and other similar painkillers may be able to fight ovarian cancer, a study suggests.

Aspirin belongs to a group of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, which can block a chemical called Cox-2.

Researchers in the United States have found that this protein also helps ovarian cancer tumours to grow.

Speaking at an American Association for Cancer Research conference, they said the drugs could fight the disease.

More evidence

The research is the latest in a string of studies to suggest aspirin, which has been around for over 100 years, could have a role in treating cancer.

Previous studies have suggested it may protect against a range of cancers, including breast, colon and bowel.

The research isn't conclusive yet
Dr Elaine Vickers,
Cancer Research UK

A growing number of scientists are involved in trials to see if these theories are correct.

This latest study, by Mike Xu and colleagues at Fox Chase Cancer Center, suggesting it could fight ovarian cancer is particularly welcome.

Almost 7,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. In many cases, the disease is not spotted until it is very late.

"It is often very hard to diagnose and the treatment options are relatively rare," said Dr Elaine Vickers of Cancer Research UK.

"Many women are responsive to chemotherapy but they can become resistant. It would be fantastic if we could reduce the risk of this disease."

Doctors at Fox Chase Cancer Center are taking part in a US government-funded trial to examine how well Aspirin and other NSAIDs can protect against cancer. Similar trials are also underway in the UK.

"There have been a lot of studies to date and a lot ongoing which suggest that aspirin could potentially reduce the risks of some forms of cancer," Dr Vickers said.

"But the research isn't conclusive yet and we certainly cannot advise people to start taking aspirin regularly."

A study published earlier this year suggested that regular long-term use of aspirin could increase the risks of pancreatic cancer.



SEE ALSO
Cancer question mark over aspirin
07 Jan 04 |  Health
'My cancer was diagnosed too late'
29 Feb 04 |  Health
Ovarian cancer
10 Jul 09 |  Health

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