Aspirin and cancer trial doomed to failure?

Hailing it as the “world’s largest clinical trial to investigate whether taking aspirin every day stops the recurrence of some of the most common cancers”, the NHS and Cancer Research UK are taking more than 11,000 patients from 100 centres across the UK.

The study will run for 12 years and involves different groups taking different doses of aspirin

Somewhat bizarrely, the dosages will be 100 and/or 300 mgs.

What is odd about this is that the original discovery of the aspirin effect, John Vane (who won a Nobel Prize and a Knighthood for his efforts, showed clearly that the dose need be no more than 75 mgs. This research was confirmed by the Mayo clinic who felt the benefit came from a small dose (81 mgs).

Further large studies from Oxford University and The Radcliffe Hospital, and from the Francis Crick Institute in London have confirmed that aspirin can reduce inflammation throughout the body (a precursor to cancer), can greatly reduce cancer spread and increase survival times, and can even prevent the cancer from hiding from the immune system.

Prof Ruth Langley, the chief investigator at the Medical Research Council’s clinical trials unit at University College London, said: “There has been some interesting research suggesting that aspirin could delay or stop early-stage cancers coming back, but there has been no randomised trial to give clear proof. This trial aims to answer this question once and for all.

“If we find that aspirin does stop these cancers returning, it could change future treatment – providing a cheap and simple way to help stop cancer coming back and helping more people survive.

“But, unless you are on the trial, it’s important not to start taking aspirin until we have the full results, as aspirin isn’t suitable for everyone, and it can have serious side-effects.”

And this is a real problem. CANCERactive has consistently informed of the increasing research on the benefits of aspirin, but in the small dose size. Even then we have known patients develop serious side-effects like stomach ulcers.

We are extremely concerned that patients taking the higher 300 mgs dose especially will show a greatly increased risk of stomach ulcers, with the whole trial having to be curtailed.

We predict high levels of side-effects and publicity saying aspirin is dangerous, when at the smaller dosage it has already-proven significant benefits.

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,