International clinical trial to investigate aspirin as anti-cancer agent

Some 300 Irish volunteers to take part in study which coincides with Cancer Week

The trial is the first of its kind to investigate aspirin’s use as an anti-cancer agent involving such a large group of patients with early-stage cancer. Photograph: Getty Images

The trial is the first of its kind to investigate aspirin’s use as an anti-cancer agent involving such a large group of patients with early-stage cancer. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Some 300 Irish volunteers will take part in an international clinical trial to investigate whether aspirin can prevent early-stage cancer from returning.

The Irish participants will have had or have started treatment for early-stage breast, stomach, oesophageal, colon, rectum or prostrate cancer.

The “Add-Aspirin” trial, which coincides with Cancer Week, will involve 11,000 participants, including people in the UK and India. Participants will be recruited over three to six years and will self-administer the tablets daily for at least five years. The participants will then be checked 10 years after treatment.

The trial is the first of its kind to investigate aspirin’s use as an anti-cancer agent involving such a large group of patients with early-stage cancer.

Cancer Trials Ireland is coordinating the trial, which is funded by the Health Research Board and the Irish Cancer Society, and hospitals around the country will be participating in the study.

The trial’s chief Irish investigator Dr Gregory Leonard, consultant oncologist at University Hospital Galway, said there is a growing body of evidence over the past decade showing aspirin’s potential as an anti-cancer agent.

“At a time when we are used to new cancer treatments being relatively costly, the possibility of repurposing an inexpensive, generic drug that is available worldwide to stop or slow cancer is potentially ground-breaking,” said Dr Leonard.

“The results of this trial could have a huge impact on the global cancer burden, particularly given the increasing cancer incidence in lower resource countries.”