Medical Oncologist Dr Andrew Haydon, who oversees cancer aspects of a world-first aspirin trial, ASPREE, said that the recent association between aspirin and a reduced risk of developing melanoma was a call for closer investigation of aspirin’s anti-tumour effect.
Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer and is on the rise in Australia.
“The relationship between aspirin and cancer is complex and thought to involve the anti-inflammatory properties of ASA (acetylsalicylic acid), otherwise known as aspirin,” Dr Haydon said.
“The association between aspirin and melanoma in past studies has been inconsistent. This observational study of almost 60,000 post-menopausal women, a quarter of whom reported using aspirin, found a 21% reduction in the risk of developing melanoma.
“Because the dose and duration of aspirin use was not clear in this study, the results are not conclusive. However, it does support the need for a large randomised clinical trial such as ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) to provide robust evidence of aspirin’s anti-tumour effect on all cancers, including melanoma in male and females.”
ASPREE will also weigh the potential benefits versus the risks of aspirin, such as bleeding – an issue that was raised by Tang in the accompanying press release.
The ASPREE study was recently awarded USD $2.2 million by the National Cancer Institute to research aspirin’s hypothesised cancer protective effect. The ACES (ASPREE Cancer Endpoints Study) will commence this year.
The paper by Tang et al, was recently published in the Cancer Journal online.