Study shows aspirin reduces the risk and recurrence of prostate cancer in African-American men


The results of this study suggest that daily use of aspirin for at least one year by African-American men may prevent the development of advanced prostate cancer and significantly improve survival. However, “it’s important to have additional studies that validate our findings in a clinical setting,” remarked Cheryl Jacobs Smith, an NIH health science policy analyst and lead author on the study.

African-American men who take a daily dose of aspirin experience a significantly lower risk of developing advanced prostate cancer – the aggressive and deadly form of the disease – than African-American men who do not regularly use aspirin, according to a study from the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis. In a case-control study, researchers found that regular aspirin use both before and after a prostate cancer diagnosis reduced the occurrence of advanced disease by 60 to 80 percent. Men of European descent did not experience similar benefits from aspirin use.

“This is the first study to report on the effect of aspirin on advanced prostate disease in African-American men,” said Stefan Ambs, a CCR molecular epidemiologist and senior investigator on the study. “Previous prostate cancer studies haven’t recruited sufficient numbers of black men, so minority populations weren’t represented.” 

The epidemiological study, published March 14, 2017, in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, was designed to investigate why African-American men are more likely than white men to develop aggressive prostate cancer and are twice as likely to die from it. It also sought to answer the question of whether aspirin, an anti-inflammatory drug, may effectively prevent prostate cancer progression and recurrence in African-American men whose tumors commonly display a characteristic inflammatory signature.

In addition to aspirin’s preventative affect on advanced disease development, the study, which recruited nearly 2,000 African-American and European-American men from the greater Baltimore area, discovered that African-American prostate cancer patients who used aspirin experienced a striking 70 to 80 percent reduced risk of disease recurrence after standard prostate cancer treatment.

The results suggest that daily use of aspirin for at least one year by African-American men may prevent the development of advanced disease and significantly improve survival. However, “it’s important to have additional studies that validate our findings in a clinical setting,” remarked Cheryl Jacobs Smith, an NIH health science policy analyst and lead author on the study.

Summary Posted: 03/2017