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Aspirin May Help Patients Beat Prostate Cancer
Date:10/25/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- One of the world's most ubiquitous and pedestrian drugs -- aspirin -- may cut the risk of dying for men who have prostate cancer that has not yet spread beyond the gland, a new study suggests.

In looking at the records of more than 5,000 men with prostate cancer, 2,000 of whom were taking aspirin or another blood-thinning drug, researchers presenting at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in San Diego report that the risk of dying from the cancer was reduced by more than half.

"We show that patients taking anticoagulant [blood thinning] medication had better outcomes with regards to prostate cancer death and that this benefit was most prominent in patients who had high-risk disease," said study lead author Dr. Kevin Choe, a radiation oncologist with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. High-risk tumors are more aggressive and thus more likely to eventually kill the patient.

Choe spoke at a Monday ASTRO teleconference.

Of the blood thinners used in the study, aspirin was the one which seemed to account for most of the benefit, the researchers said

There has already been some evidence that cancer and the body's coagulation system might be linked in some way.

"Cancer patients tend to develop clots in their legs and lungs more frequently and also patients who develop clots in their legs and lungs tend to develop cancer more frequently," Choe noted. "We hypothesized that anticoagulant medication may lower the chance of death from prostate cancer in men who have localized prostate cancer."

And, at least according to this retrospective review of medical records, this did indeed appear to be the case. Retrospective studies -- where researchers look back over previously collected data, looking for associations -- are not as reliable as prospective trials,
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