American researchers are reporting that using aspirin on a daily basis may protect women from developing a common type of breast cancer.
The team, led by Gretchen Gierach, found that intake of aspirin was linked to a small reduction in oestrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancers.
The discovery is important as around 75percent of cancers are oestrogen receptor-positive i.e. the cancer cells have receptors for oestrogen on their surface.
As a part of the study, Gierach and her team analysed over 127,000 women enrolled in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study, who were aged between 51 and 72 and had no history of cancer.
The researchers noted that daily aspirin use was linked to a 16percent reduction in risk of ER+ breast cancer. However, unlike in some previous research, aspirin and related painkillers were not found to reduce the total risk of breast cancer.
"In summary, our results do not support an important influence of NSAIDs on total breast cancer risk. Daily aspirin use, however, appeared to offer some protection for ER+ breast cancer in this population ... Our results provide support for further evaluating relationships in prospective studies with well-defined measures of NSAID use by NSAID type ... and by ER status," Gierach concluded.
The results are published in BioMed Central's open access journal Breast Cancer Research.