Mesothelioma Patients May Live Longer By Taking Aspirin, Study Suggests

Will taking aspirin help mesothelioma patients live longer? Researchers in Hawaii think so. A new study in which mice with mesothelioma were given aspirin indicates that the animals’ survival rates were extended.

Scientists and physicians at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, two hospitals in Italy, and the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in New York administered aspirin and an HMGB1 inhibitor (Box A) to mice infected with mesothelioma cancer.  Haining Yang, one of the researchers in the study, states that the inflammation-fighting aspirin combined with Box A may help to slow down mesothelioma.

“ASA/SA, at serum concentrations comparable to those achieved in humans taking therapeutic doses of aspirin, and BoxA, a specific inhibitor of HMGB1, markedly reduced malignant mesothelioma growth in xenograft mice and significantly improved survival of treated animals.”

Not only did the combination of Box A and aspirin fight inflammation in the mice infected with mesothelioma, but it also stopped HMGB1 activity. HMGB1 is a protein in the body that helps support the growth of mesothelioma once the cancer develops. Asbestos triggers HMGB1 to become inflamed, which eventually leads to mesothelioma.

Scientists and physicians are hopeful that the new findings will prove successful on humans who are living with pleural mesothelioma. The entire study is published in the June 11 edition of Cell Death and Disease. 

This isn’t the first time the effects of aspirin on mesothelioma patients have proven to be effective. In 2012, researchers determined that NOSH-aspirin, a laboratory-engineered aspirin consisting of nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S), is much more effective against attacking cancerous mesothelioma cells with compared to regular aspirin.

According to Khosrow Kashf, one of the lead researchers in the study from the City College of New York, the studies revealed that the aspirin was not only powerful at battling lung cancers, but other types as well, such as colon cancer.

“At 72 hours it is about 250,000 times more potent in an in-vitro cell culture against human colon cancer.”

In the colon cancer study, mice with the disease had reduction of cancerous tumors by 85%. In addition, no side effects were detected.

The study, backed by the National Cancer Institute, was released in the February 29,2012 edition of the journal, ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 

In other studies, results indicate that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID), such as aspirin, when combined with COX-2 inhibitors drugs such as Celebrex, may not stop mesothelioma from developing, but it will slow its progression as well as slow down the latency period of the disease.

Although further studies are needed on the benefits of aspirin and how it battles mesothelioma, the combined past research suggests that it may be a powerful for people to battle the disease. However, if you have mesothelioma, be certain to consult with your physician prior to taking aspirin.

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Yang, H, “Aspirin delays mesothelioma growth by inhibiting HMGB1-mediated tumor progression”, June 11, 2015, Cell Death and Disease