Aspirin, eicosanoids and cancer - news story
Oxford University and John Radcliffe Hospital Scientists led by Professor Peter Rothwell have found ´strong evidence´ across a number of recent studies that aspirin can not only help prevent the development of cancer, it can reduce the chances of cancer spreading and reduce deaths.
The researchers say the evidence is ´so strong´ they expect NICE to take urgent action telling Doctors to prescribe aspirin to cancer patients. Some of the studies involved over 200,000 people and there was particular emphasis on throat and lung cancer although the research involved all cancers.
Prevention - One study showed that taking a daily aspirin tablet for three years reduced the chances of developing cancer in men by 23 per cent, and in women by 25 per cent.
Reducing Metastases - Another study showed that once cancer had been diagnosed the chances of it spreading were cut in more than half (55%) if aspirin was taken daily for six and a half years.
Reducing Death - A third study showed that aspirin cut the risk of dying from cancer by more than a third (37%) if taken daily for five years.
Aspirin found favour after previous research showed it prevented strokes and heart attacks. In this new research, the Oxford Scientists found the benefits in fighting cancer were even larger.
Researchers told journalists that aspirin reduced the effectiveness of platelets which cause the blood to clot. Apart from their role in strokes and heart attacks, platelets are also involved in the cancer process, in metastases (spread to other locations) and in tumour formation.
There is, of course, a warning that you should not take aspirin on an empty stomach and that it can cause bleeding and ulceration in certain cases. However, people normally take 2 tablets of 300 - 500 mgs for pain relief. The Oxford Researchers used daily doses of just 75 mgs or just one quarter of a standard 300 mg tablet.
Aspirin and eicosanoids
In 1982 John Vane won a Knighthood and a Nobel Prize. His work involved eicosanoids.These are essentially localised chemicals acting as hormones and produced by the breakdown of phospholipids in cell membranes throughout the body. There are approximately 130 different eicosanoids in the human body - some good, some bad, and some that are useful in small amounts but harmful in larger amounts (for example, prostaglandins in arthritis).
The control and regulation of the eicosanoids is ultimately determined by the amount of, and balance between, two essential fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid. They are the precursors to the arachidonic acid cascade and it is from arachidonic acid that the eicosanoids are derived. The cell type also affects the balance between good and bad eicosanoids. Other factors may prompt less ´bad´ eicosanoids (for example, an effective immune system) or more ´bad´ eicosanoids (for example, injury, or operations)
Some eicosanoids can last for less than two seconds, others for up to a minute. This makes them very powerful ´igniters´ of localised cellular reactions. One pathway, involving the enzyme Cox-2 makes more of the bad eicosanoids.
Cox-2 is known to be stimulated by stress hormones, insulin and steroids. Thus the brain becomes stressed, the adrenals pump out more cortisol for example, and this produces more localised negative eicosanoids, as will another stress hormone epinephrine. Research has long known that stimulation of Cox-2 and the production of arachnadonic acid could stimulate bowel cancer.
Reducing the stimulants of Cox-2
Saturated fats, nitrosamines, alcohol and other factors were known to drive this. But research from the USA in the last year has shown that this pathway can lead to other cancers, initially causing irritation and inflammation at the localised level. US researchers in 2011 showed that stress did indeed cause cancer through this mechanism.
We have. elsewhere, covered the benefits of yoga in reducing cortisol levels. Research was conducted across 10,000 people by Seattle Medical School. Insulin peaks may be reduced by grazing and eating whole foods rather than sugary, refined foods. 6 small meals a day controls insulin levels far better than one or two large ones.
But Vane identified that certain factors could reduce the stimulation of Cox-2. He identified aspirin. The Mayo Clinic have subsequently stated that 80 mgs is the ideal daily dose.
Since 1982 there have been numerous research studies identifying a number of natural compounds that can inhibit the action of Cox-2. Omega-3 from fish oils was shown by Leeds University in Clinical Trials to reduce polyps and the reoccurence of bowel cancer. A daily fish oil pill, curcumin, resveratrol (from grape skins), garlic and fresh ginger each has numerous studies behind their beneficial powers in reducing Cox-2, cellular irritation, inflammation and cancer activities.
And we´ve been telling you all this at CANCERactive for over 8 years!
Please be clear: At CANCERactive we do not consider the above compound to be a cure for cancer, despite what the research says or experts doing the research may claim. The above, is an article on the compound from published research and expert opinion in the public domain. At CANCERactive we do not believe that any single compound (drug, vitamin, whatever) is a cure for cancer. We believe that people can significantly increase their personal odds of survival by building an Integrated Programme of treatments. Equally, cancer prevention is best practiced through a width of measures.