Can Daily Aspirin Make Mesothelioma Worse?

If you are at risk for malignant mesothelioma and are taking a daily, low dose of aspirin, you may want to learn more about the results of a recent study. Though taking aspirin every day has long been thought to provide protection against cognitive decline, cardiovascular problems and cancer, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the Berman Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, say that doing so may in fact make cancers worse once they have developed. 

Mesothelioma Patients Are Usually Older 

Malignant mesothelioma is most frequently diagnosed in people who are older, a fact which is largely due to the disease’s long latency period. The condition is caused by exposure to asbestos, and though the carcinogenic material’s damage begins almost as soon as its fibers become embedded in the body’s cells, the disease’s symptoms often don’t begin to manifest until forty to fifty years later, when the victim is elderly.

It is these elderly people — who are at risk for mesothelioma and other cancers — that the Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) trial focused its attention on. The study recruited over 19,000 study participants in Australia and the United States, most of whom were over the age of 70. 

Aspirin Study Raises Concerns for Those At Risk for Malignant Mesothelioma

Following an initial report published in March indicating that a daily low dose of aspirin did not protect against cognitive decline and dementia, the study’s authors moved on to aspirin’s impact on the development of solid tumors like malignant mesothelioma. The group’s investigation of the same group of participants revealed that the daily aspirin dose raised the risk of advanced cancers metastasizing, increasing mortality.

The report, which was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, randomly assigned patients to either take 100 milligrams of aspirin a day or a placebo. Upon follow up, the researchers found that the aspirin group experienced a higher number of deaths. Most of these deaths were caused by cancer, with a 19% higher risk of metastatic cancer and a 22% higher risk for being diagnosed with an advanced cancer when compared to those who took the placebo. Speaking of these concerning findings, senior author Dr. Andrew T. Chan of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School said, “Deaths were particularly high among those on aspirin who were diagnosed with advanced solid cancers, suggesting a possible adverse effect of aspirin on the growth of cancers once they have already developed in older adults.”

Staying up to date on the latest medical research is important for those at risk of or diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. If you need information or access to resources, contact the Patient Advocates at at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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