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Common class of pain drugs reduces severity of postpartum breast cancers
Date:8/11/2011

Published online on Aug. 7, 2011, the journal Nature Medicine reports that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen reduce the severity of postpartum breast cancers in animal models. "We caution patients and providers that because a mother's body is undergoing radical changes during this time, we can't yet speak to the safety of these drugs for women diagnosed with or at risk for postpartum breast cancer, and thus can't yet recommend NSAIDs as a preventative therapy or cancer treatment," says Pepper Schedin, PhD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and professor in the division of medical oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, who teamed up on this study with Virginia Borges, MD, an expert in young women's breast cancer who is also at the Cancer Center. First authors of this important paper are University of Colorado trainees, Drs. Traci Lyons and Jenean O'Brien.

The story starts with breast involution the process by which milk-producing cells that are no longer needed are killed and replaced with fat cells. During this time of change, the breast is especially susceptible to the development of cancer. In fact, recent studies show that women who have children before age 30 increase their risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer by 10% and women who wait to have children until after age 35 increase their risk by 30%. Not only is breast cancer more prevalent in young mothers than women who have not had a child, but cancers diagnosed in the early years postpartum tend to be more aggressive, with increased risk of spreading to other organs. For example, one study reported that women diagnosed with cancer within two years of giving birth had a 40% five-year survival rate, as opposed to a 70% five-year survival rate for women diagnosed outside the postpartum window.

What this University of Colorado research team discovered is that breast involution shares similarities with wounds, and wo
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Contact: Garth Sundem
garth.sundem@ucdenver.edu
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

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