Aspirin May Reduce Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Although more studies are needed, there is a very close and beneficial association between women taking low doses of this drug.

Aspirin May Reduce Risk of Ovarian Cancer


Regular use of low-dose aspirin may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, a new study suggests. Researchers analyzed data from more than 205,000 American women, and found that those who reported recent and regular use of low-dose aspirin (defined as 100 milligrams or less) had a 23 percent lower risk of developing ovarian cancer than those who did not take aspirin regularly.

The risk wasn't reduced the longer women used low-dose aspirin. The study also failed to prove that aspirin reduced the risk of cancer, only that there was an association. And taking standard-dose aspirin (325 milligrams) was not associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer.

On the other hand, taking 10 or more non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) tablets per week that were not aspirin, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, for several years was associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer, the study authors noted.

"What really differentiated this study from previous work was that we were able to analyze low-dose aspirin separately from standard-dose aspirin," said study leader Mollie Barnard, who conducted the research while a doctoral student at Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

"Our findings emphasize that research on aspirin use and cancer risk should take into account the dose of aspirin," he added in a Harvard news release.

Barnard is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. There is growing evidence that inflammation plays a role in the development of that cancer. It is believed that aspirin may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by reducing inflammation.

"More research is needed to find out which women can get the most benefit from taking low-dose aspirin to reduce their risk of ovarian cancer," study author Shelley Tworoger, an associate professor of population sciences at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., said in the news release. Moffitt scientists participated in the study.

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