'Aspirin' - acetylsalicylic acid - has been associated with a beneficial effect on some types of cancer, especially colon cancer. However, its use in the treatment of these pathologies has not spread due to several factors; first, because of the risk of gastric bleeding, and also because specialists are unaware of the characteristics of patients who would benefit from the use of aspirin.

Now, American and Japanese scientists have conducted a new trial in which they have found that aspirin is able to prolong the life of those patients with colon cancer who have a mutation in their cells, specifically an alteration in the PIK3CA gene, which occurs in 20% of colon tumors and is related to inflammatory processes (precisely on which aspirin acts).

Intake of aspirin can prolong the life of colon cancer patients with a mutation in the PIK3CA gene, something that occurs in 20% of colon tumors

The trial, which has been published in The New England Journal of Medicine, has had the participation of almost 1,000 patients and, according to the authors of the study, 97% of those affected by colorectal cancer with the PIK3CA mutation who took aspirin. they remained alive five years after diagnosis, compared to 74% of patients with the same mutation who did not take the medication. In 80% of the cases in which the aforementioned mutation was not present, no benefit was observed with the intake of acetylsalicylic acid.

The results of the research, in the opinion of the experts, are very interesting because a molecular marker has been identified - the mutation of the PIK3CA gene - and the reduction of the mortality rate in patients with this alteration has been related to the anti-inflammatory action of aspirin. In addition, the PIK3CA gene is also mutated in other types of tumors, such as breast cancer.

However, new studies are needed to confirm these results in a larger sample of patients, since aspirin is a drug whose continued use may involve health risks, and its use can not yet be recommended, nor as a preventive method. to colon tumors, nor for the treatment of patients already diagnosed.

The Aspirin-Cancer Link (November 2019).