Dr. Weeks’ Comment: It is gratifying that patients are finally being informed of a life-saving fact which we researchers have been lecturing to practicing oncologists about for the past 7 years: the importance of using inexpensive anti-inflammatory agents to prevent and treat cancer by addressing the lethal but ignored cancer STEM cell. Conventional cancer treatment (chemotherapy and radiation) not only do not kill cancer STEM cells, but they actually make cancer worse by increasing the number and virulence of cancer STEM cells. That is why top cancer researchers like Max Wicha are on record warning “Chemotherapy and Radiation make your cancer worse.” Now, once again, we learn that aspirin is highly beneficial. But aspirin can create problems – kidney toxicity and gastric bleeding so we prefer more “centisble”(i.e. safe, effective and cost-effective) anti-inflammatory agents like black cumin seed, black raspberry seed and Chardonnay grape seeds. As you read below, note that eating seeds is more effective and safer than aspirin.
“….We find that ASA not only prevents breast tumor cell growth in vitro and tumor growth in nude mice xenograft model through the induction of apoptosis, but also significantly reduces the self-renewal capacity and growth of breast tumor-initiating cells (BTICs)/breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) and delays the formation of a palpable tumor…”
Aspirin blocks growth of breast tumor cells and tumor-initiating cells and induces reprogramming factors of mesenchymal to epithelial transition.
Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), also known as aspirin, a classic, nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), is widely used to relieve minor aches and pains and to reduce fever. Epidemiological studies and other experimental studies suggest that ASA use reduces the risk of different cancers including breast cancer (BC) and may be used as a chemopreventive agent against BC and other cancers. These studies have raised the tempting possibility that ASA could serve as a preventive medicine for BC. However, lack of in-depth knowledge of the mechanism of action of ASA reshapes the debate of risk and benefit of using ASA in prevention of BC. Our studies, using in vitro and in vivo tumor xenograft models, show a strong beneficial effect of ASA in the prevention of breast carcinogenesis. We find that ASA not only prevents breast tumor cell growth in vitro and tumor growth in nude mice xenograft model through the induction of apoptosis, but also significantly reduces the self-renewal capacity and growth of breast tumor-initiating cells (BTICs)/breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) and delays the formation of a palpable tumor. Moreover, ASA regulates other pathophysiological events in breast carcinogenesis, such as reprogramming the mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET) and delaying in vitro migration in BC cells. The tumor growth-inhibitory and reprogramming roles of ASA could be mediated through inhibition of TGF-β/SMAD4 signaling pathway that is associated with growth, motility, invasion, and metastasis in advanced BCs.
Collectively, ASA has a therapeutic or preventive potential by attacking possible target such as TGF-β in breast carcinogenesis.
Can aspirin be the next big thing in cancer treatment? Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center believe so. In their new study set to appear in Laboratory Investigation, scientists found that aspirin was effective in blocking breast tumor growth and preventing it from coming back. Previous studies have seen similar results in other types of cancer, including colon, gastrointestinal, and prostate.
According to Dr. Sushanta Banerjee of the Cancer Research Unit at Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, aspirin has been successful in preventing the existence of environments that promote cancer stem cell reproduction, which is essential in fighting a potential reoccurrence.
“In cancer, when you treat the patient, initially the tumor will hopefully shrink,” said Banerjee in a recent press release. “The problem comes five or 10 years down the road when the disease relapses.” He explains that cancer stem cells, which survive chemotherapy and other forms of treatment, will remain dormant in the body until the right conditions allow them to grow. Once this happens, patients will relapse. “When they reappear they can be very aggressive, nasty tumors.”
Banerjee conducted two separate experiments, one using incubated cells and the other using mouse models, to see if aspirin could alter the molecular signature of breast cancer stem cells. In the first experiment, he incubated 96 different plates of breast cancer cells and exposed over half to acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin. He found that the plates exposed to aspirin had significantly more cell death than those that were not, and many of the cells that lived were unable to grow.
For the second experiment, Banerjee studied 20 mice with aggressive tumors. Over a 15 day period, he administered the human equivalent of 75 milligrams of aspirin to these mice each day, a relatively low dose, and tracked tumor progression. By the end of the 15 days, the tumors were weighed, and the tumors of the mice who received the aspirin were, on average, 47 percent smaller.
Researchers also tested the theory that aspirin could prevent cancer growth by giving mice a daily aspirin regimen for 10 days before introducing cancer cells. They found that after a 15-day period, mice that had been treated with aspirin before exposure to cancer had less tumor growth than those who were not given aspirin.
“We found that aspirin caused these residual cancer cells to lose their self-renewal properties,” said Banerjee. “Basically, they couldn’t grow or reproduce. So there are two parts here. We could give aspirin after chemotherapy to prevent relapse and keep the pressure on, which we saw effective in both the laboratory and the mouse model, and we could use it preventatively.”
Banerjee also warned that patients should always consult their physician before considering a daily aspirin regimen, as aspirin’s blood thinning qualities have been linked to gastrointestinal bleeding. “Of course there is a risk,” he says, “but you have to weigh that against the risk of cancer. It’s true this is relatively new and we don’t know all the side effects yet, but this was a very low dose.”
Banerjee says he has been on a daily aspirin regimen of his own for the past three years, with no negative effects.
Source: Banerjee S, Archana D, Amlan D, et al. Aspirin blocks growth of breast tumor cells and tumor-initiating cells and induces reprogramming factors of mesenchymal to epithelial transition. Laboratory Investigation. 2015.