But they stress that further research is needed to determine the best type, dose and duration and whether the benefits of regularly using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) outweigh the side effects, especially for high-risk groups.
“Our review of research published over the last 27 years suggests that, in addition to possible prevention, there may also be a role for NSAIDs in the treatment of women with established breast cancer” says Professor Ian Fentiman from the Hedley Atkins Breast Unit at the hospital, part of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.
“NSAID use could be combined with hormone therapy or used to relieve symptoms in the commonest cause of cancer-related deaths in women.”
Professor Fentiman and Mr Avi Agrawal reviewed 21 studies covering more than 37,000 women published between 1980 and 2007.
Their review included 11 studies of women with breast cancer and ten studies that compared women who did and did not have the disease.
“The purpose of a review like this is to look at a wide range of published studies and see if it is possible to pull together all the findings and come to any overarching conclusions” explains Professor Fentiman. “This includes looking at any conflicting results and exploring how the studies were carried out.
“For example some of the studies we looked at as part of this review found no links between NSAIDs and reduced levels of breast cancer, while others suggested that taking NSAIDs can reduce the breast cancer risk by about a fifth.
“Having weighed up the findings from over 20 studies, we have concluded that NSAIDs may well offer significant protection against developing breast cancer in the first place and may provide a useful addition to the treatment currently available to women who already have the disease.
“Recent studies of NSAIDs use have shown about a 20 per cent risk reduction in the incidence of breast cancer, but this benefit may be confined to aspirin use alone and not other NSAIDs.”
Previous studies have suggested that NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen, which have traditionally been used as mainstream non-prescription analgesics, may provide protection against coronary heart disease and some malignancies, such as colorectal cancer.
But Professor Fentiman is urging caution until further research fully weighs up the pros and cons of using NSAIDs to prevent and treat breast cancer.
“Our review did not look at the potential side effects of using NSAIDs on a regular basis” stresses Professor Fentiman “These can include gastrointestinal bleeding and perforation which can carry a significant risk of ill health and death.
“It would be essential to take these negative effects into account before we could justify routinely using NSAIDs like aspirin to prevent breast cancer.
“More research is clearly needed and we are not advocating that women take these non prescription drugs routinely until the benefits and risks are clearer.
“But our findings clearly indicate that these popular over-the-counter drugs could, if used correctly, play an important role in preventing and treating breast cancer.”
Annette Whibley | alfa
Mechanism Discovered to Activate the Immune System against Bacteria and Regulate the Microbiome
13.02.2019 | Universitätsklinikum Tübingen
For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.
The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...
Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens
Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...
Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light
When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...
The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...
Physicists from the University of Basel have developed a new method to examine the elasticity and binding properties of DNA molecules on a surface at extremely low temperatures. With a combination of cryo-force spectroscopy and computer simulations, they were able to show that DNA molecules behave like a chain of small coil springs. The researchers reported their findings in Nature Communications.
DNA is not only a popular research topic because it contains the blueprint for life – it can also be used to produce tiny components for technical applications.
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