Last reviewed by Drug Expert on October 7th, 2019.
Two recent studies may have found some promising news for patients diagnosed with head and neck cancers or lung cancer. These new studies conducted through the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, NY concluded that low-dose aspirin could be linked to extended survival rates for patients battling some specific kinds of cancer.
How Might Aspirin Extend Survival Rates For Head, Neck, and Lung Cancers?
The first of the two studies led by Dr. Anurag Singh, an oncology professor, looked at 460 patients diagnosed with either head and neck squamous cell carcinoma or non-small cell lung cancer. This study found that taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as a low-dose aspirin along with radiation therapy or chemotherapy could extend the five-year survival rates for these patients by as much as eight percent.
The second study looked at a total of 164 patients with non-small cell lung cancer receiving high dose radiation therapy. Of these patients, 57 percent were taking aspirin in addition to their radiation therapy. These patients reached their two-year survival mark, compared to the remaining portion of patients who did not take aspirin in addition to their radiation therapy.
While the exact link between aspirin use and extended survival rates could not be determined, it is clear that patients who took aspirin tended to live longer than those who did not. Dr. Austin Iovoli, who co-authored the first of the two studies, was quoted as saying, “We were especially interested to see that these patients lived longer even though the anti-inflammatory drugs did not seem to have an impact on the effectiveness of cancer treatment.”
It is worth noting, aspirin is not linked to extended survival rates in other types of cancer. Rather, it has actually been associated with shorter survival rates in some types of the disease, most notably breast cancer. It is recommended that patients suffering from head and neck cancer or lung cancer speak to their physicians and care team before beginning an aspirin regimen.