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Aspirin, Hormone Therapy Combo Can Shorten Lives of Prostate Cancer Patients
Date:12/26/2007

doxical finding," D'Amico said. "Men who were taking aspirin were more likely to die of prostate cancer than those who were not, which didn't make sense at first."

But when the researchers delved deeper, they realized that the men who were taking aspirin were more likely to have to stop hormone therapy.

"Liver function is something you monitor" when undergoing hormone therapy, D'Amico explained. "When the tests elevate, you take the patient off of hormone therapy till the tests normalize, then you restart the therapy."

An explanation for this interaction comes from previous animal studies, D'Amico said. For rabbits that take aspirin while undergoing hormone therapy, that aspirin is magnified 100-fold in terms of how much gets into the blood. "That makes it a toxic dose of aspirin," he explained.

Although such a study can't establish a cause-and-effect association, it does appear likely, D'Amico said.

"If a man is taking baby aspirin just to prevent heart disease, we would ask the oncologist to ask the primary-care physician if he could come off the baby aspirin for the months while he's getting cancer therapy. If the aspirin is just for prevention, this is probably the simplest thing to do," he said. "But if the patient is on aspirin because he absolutely needs it, then they'd have to treat the prostate cancer without hormone therapy. It really comes down to a trade-off: How much do they need the aspirin versus how much do they need hormonal therapy, and there are alternative treatments for prostate cancer."

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on prostate cancer and hormone therapy.



SOURCES: Anthony V. D'Amico, M.D., Ph.D., chief, division of genitourinary radiation oncology, Brigham & Women's Hospital and
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