“In this study, we saw that women who used aspirin had a significant reduction in the risk of death and recurrence of the disease when compared to women who did not use aspirin,” said Michelle Holmes, MD, DrPH, lead author of the paper and a researcher and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Channing Laboratory at BWH.
Researchers collected self-reported data from 4,164 female nurses enrolled in BWH’s landmark Nurses’ Health Study who were diagnosed with Stages I, II, or III breast cancer between 1976 and 2002. There were 341 deaths from breast cancer and 400 recurrences (including the 341 deaths). Researchers analyzed data reported by these women in questionnaires about the frequency of aspirin use one year after their first diagnosis of breast cancer through June 2006 or death, whichever came first. After adjusting for stage of the cancer, menopausal status, body mass index, and cancer treatments; researchers found a significant association between the use of aspirin and a reduced risk of death. Results were also similar for recurrence of the cancer. Specifically, researchers report a 50 percent lower chance of death from breast cancer in aspirin users.
“There are more than 2 million women in the United States living with breast cancer and the risk of death from this disease is elevated even up to 15 years after diagnosis. More research is needed to determine how aspirin, which is a non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug, may work to prohibit the recurrence of breast cancer,” Holmes said.
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.