When it comes to the battle against cancer, it seems that an age-old warrior aspirin is still the best defence. Boffins at the University of Newcastle (UK), in a new study, have found that aspirin has cancer-fighting effects that extend beyond already understood Cox inhibitors.
They found that aspirin acts on the signalling molecule NFkappaB, which is known to trigger the formation of new blood vessels, an important part of tumour development.
Aspirin reduces the formation of blood vessels that fuel developing tumours. Without new blood vessels (formed through a process called angiogenesis) tumours cannot grow.
The researchers also found a dose-dependent relationship between blood vessel formation and the amount of aspirin used in the study.
This new finding confirms and extends earlier evidence suggesting that NFkappaB is a target of aspirin action in inflammation; now researchers can work out exactly how signals interrupted by aspirin can control not only inflammation, but the biology of tumour growth as well.
Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, said that the new study showed that aspirin was still the “wonder-drug” that it is touted to be, and that boffins were still learning all the actions the drug may have.
"Aspirin has always been touted as a 'wonder drug,' and this study shows that we are still learning about the many actions of this amazing drug," he said.
This finding appears in the October 2006 issue of The FASEB Journal.