Chemotherapy and hormonal therapy have significantly decreased breast cancer mortality, although with considerable side effects and financial costs. In the USA, over three million women are living after a breast cancer diagnosis and are eager for new treatments that are low in toxicity and cost. Multiple observational studies have reported improved breast cancer survival with regular aspirin use. Furthermore, pooled data from five large randomized trials of aspirin for cardiovascular disease showed that subjects on aspirin had decreased risk of cancer mortality and decreased risk of metastatic cancer. Although the potential mechanism for aspirin preventing breast cancer is not known, possible pathways may involve platelets, inflammation, cyclooxygenase (COX) 2, hormones, or PI3 kinase. This review article summarizes the current epidemiologic and clinical trial evidence as well as possible underlying mechanisms that justify current phase III randomized trials of aspirin to improve breast cancer survival.
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