Study: How Aspirin Fights Cancer
Although several studies have shown aspirin may play a role in cancer prevention, most have looked to the drug's anti-inflammatory effect as its mechanism of action. However, new research shows that, when it comes to preventing cancer, it may actually be aspirin's effect on platelets instead.
Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are specialized blood cells that play an important role in the formation of blood clots, as well as new blood vessels. These actions are necessary and beneficial—to allow healing, for example—but when it comes to cancer, the formation of new blood vessels promotes tumor growth.
According to this new study, published in Cancer Prevention Research, aspirin curbs the number of circulating platelets, decreases platelet activity, and blocks the interaction between platelets and cancer cells. Additional research about the chemopreventive effects of aspirin—including development of an enhanced aspirin complex called Aspertec—is being conducted.