The answer might surprise you, but it seems it can. An impressive project that collected data from many lengthy studies, going back several decades and involving hundreds of thousands of people, highlighted a clear relationship between the two.
Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), commonly known as aspirin, has a history of more than 100 years of medical use. Generally recommended for treating pain, fever or inflammation, it can also help with cardiovascular diseases or prevent heart attacks and strokes. While there were claims that aspirin can also have an effect on cancer, very little information on the subject was compiled.
In 2009, the Ovarian Cancer Cohort Consortium was established, with the aim to “enhance the efforts of ovarian cancer research by bringing together researchers and cohorts with ovarian cancer endpoints for pooled projects”. 12 control studies, beginning in 1976 and counting more than 750.000 participants, were examined.
Results showed “a 10% decrease in ovarian cancer risk with regular aspirin use, which was stronger for daily and low-dose users”. A second study revealed that women with pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis exposure also had a significantly lower risk.
Shelley S. Tworoger, Ph.D., associate center director for population science at Moffitt Cancer Center and one of the Consortium’s leading members noted that: “There is increasing evidence that ovarian cancer is an inflammation-related disease to some extent. This is largely driven by a number of studies that showed women with high C-reactive protein had an increased risk for ovarian cancer”.
It seems that aspirin works by blocking the enzymes of the COX 1 or COX 2 pathways. Tumors that present these receptors respond well to the drug. Another avenue of research could be “immune microenvironment, including immune macrophages regulated by the inflammatory environment of the host.”
These findings will hopefully produce some new ways of preventing and managing the effects of cancer.