Breast Cancer

Low-dose aspirin may be powerful cancer fighting tool for women

The use of low-dose aspirin (81 mg) reduces the risk of breast cancer in women, a new study concludes. Researchers saw an overall 16 percent lower risk of breast cancer in women who reported using low-dose aspirin at least three times per week.

A City of Hope-led study found that the use of low-dose aspirin (81mg) reduces the risk of breast cancer in women who are part of the California’s Teacher’s Study. This study — which is the first to suggest that the reduction in risk occurs for low-dose aspirin — was proposed by City of Hope’s Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., professor and director of the Division of Biomarkers of Early Detection and Prevention, and published online in the journal, Breast Cancer Research.

Bernstein and her colleagues saw an overall 16 percent lower risk of breast cancer in women who reported using low-dose aspirin at least three times per week. Such regular use of low-dose aspirin reduced the risk by 20 percent of estrogen or progesterone receptor positive, HER2 negative breast cancer, which is the most common breast cancer subtype.

“The study found an interesting protective association between low-dose aspirin and breast cancer,” said lead author Christina A. Clarke, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California. “We did not by and large find associations with the other pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. We also did not find associations with regular aspirin since this type of medication is taken sporadically for headaches or other pain, and not daily for prevention of cardiovascular disease.”

This study differed from other studies that have looked at aspirin and cancer risk because it focused on the dose levels of the aspirin women had taken and tracked the frequency of the use of low-dose aspirin as opposed to regular aspirin. It was also able to look in detail at subtypes of breast cancer.

“We already knew that aspirin is a weak aromatase inhibitor and we treat women with breast cancer with stronger aromatase inhibitors since they reduce the amount of estrogen postmenopausal women have circulating in their blood,” said Bernstein. “We thought that if aspirin can inhibit aromatase, it ought to reduce the likelihood that breast cancer would develop and it could also be an effective way to improve breast cancer patients’ prognosis once they no longer take the more potent aromatase inhibitors.” Bernstein added, “Aspirin also reduces inflammation, which may be another mechanism by which aspirin taken regularly can lower risk of breast cancer developing or recurring.”

As part of the study, researchers analyzed data recorded in questionnaires submitted by 57,164 women in the California’s Teacher’s Study. In 2005, participants answered questions regarding family history of cancer and other conditions, use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), menstrual and reproductive history, use of hormones, weight and height, living environment, diet, alcohol use and physical activity. In the ensuing years before 2013, 1,457 of these participants developed invasive breast cancer.

The team of researchers chose to focus on low-dose “baby” aspirin, because not only is it inexpensive and readily available as potential means of prevention, but because there are already a lot of people already taking it for prevention of other diseases such as heart disease and even colon cancer.

Now that we have some data separating low-dose from higher-dose aspirin, more detailed research can be undertaken to understand the full value of low-dose aspirin for breast cancer prevention,” said Clarke.”


Story Source:

Materials provided by City of Hope. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christina A. Clarke, Alison J. Canchola, Lisa M. Moy, Susan L. Neuhausen, Nadia T. Chung, James V. Lacey, Leslie Bernstein. Regular and low-dose aspirin, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and prospective risk of HER2-defined breast cancer: the California Teachers Study. Breast Cancer Research, 2017; 19 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s13058-017-0840-7

 

Read this article on science daily:  “Regular use of aspirin can lower risk of breast cancer for women: A new study identifies low-dose aspirin as a potential cancer prevention tool.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2017. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170501131759.htm.

Can eating soy products affect breast health?

Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have used animal models to reveal new information about the impact — positive and negative — that soy consumption could have on a common breast cancer treatment.

The scientists have uncovered the biological pathways in rats by which longtime soy consumption improves effectiveness of tamoxifen and reduces breast cancer recurrence. But they also show why eating or drinking soy-based foods for the first time while being treated with tamoxifen can, conversely, reduce effectiveness of the drug, and promote recurrence.

The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, uncovers the molecular biology behind how soy consumption, especially its most active isoflavone, genistein, affects tamoxifen — both positively and negatively.

It also mirrors what has been observed in breast cancer patients, says the study’s senior investigator Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, PhD, professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi.

“There has long been a paradox concerning genistein, which has the similar structure as estrogen and activates both human estrogen receptors to a degree. Estrogen drives most breast cancer growth, yet high soy intake among women in Asian countries has been linked to a breast cancer rate that is five times lower than Western women, who eat much less soy,” she says. “So why is soy, which mimics estrogen, protective in Asian women?”

More than 70 percent of the 1.67 million women diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide in 2012 was estrogen-receptor positive, and tamoxifen and other endocrine therapies meant to reduce the ability of estrogen to promote cancer growth, are the most common drugs used for these cancers. Although endocrine therapies can be highly effective in preventing or treating breast cancer, about half of patients who use them exhibit resistance and/or have cancer recurrence.

Employing a more advanced rat model of breast cancer and tamoxifen use than has been used in past studies, the researchers found that the timing of genistein intake is the central issue.

Longtime sustained use of genistein before development of breast cancer improves overall immunity against cancer, thus protecting against cancer development and recurrence, says the study’s lead researcher, Xiyuan Zhang, PhD.

“It also inhibits a mechanism called autophagy that would allow cancer cells to survive, which explains why it helps tamoxifen work,” says Zhang, a member of Hilakivi-Clarke’s laboratory when this study was conducted. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institutes of Health.

Previous studies in women show no evidence of adverse effects of soy intake on breast cancer outcome, the researchers say, adding that research has also shown that Asian and Caucasian women who consumed as little as 1/3rd cup of soymilk daily (10 mg. of isoflavones) had the lowest risk of breast cancer recurrence.

The animal studies suggest it is a different story when soy consumption begins after breast cancer develops.

Starting consuming genistein in a diet after breast cancer develops in the animals did not trigger anti-tumor immune response to eliminate cancer cells, Zhang says. “We do not know yet why this made the animals resistant to the beneficial effects of tamoxifen and increased risk of cancer recurrence,” she continued.

Animals consuming genistein as adults on had a 7 percent chance of breast cancer recurrence after tamoxifen treatment, compared with a 33 percent recurrence with rats exposed to genistein only after breast cancer developed.

“We have solved the puzzle of genistein and breast cancer in our rat model, which perfectly explains the paradox seen in earlier animal studies and patients,” says Hilakivi-Clarke. “While many oncologists advise their patients not to take isoflavone supplements or consume soy foods, our findings suggest a more nuanced message — if these results hold true for women. Our results suggest that breast cancer patients should continue consuming soy foods after diagnosis, but not to start them if they have not consumed genistein previously.”


Story Source:

Materials provided by Georgetown University Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Read this article on ScienceDaily: Georgetown University Medical Center. “Understanding when eating soy might help or harm in breast cancer treatment.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2017. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170201092711.htm.

The Women’s OBGYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa Takes a Look at Breast Cancer Prevention for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Helping to increase awareness and save lives the Women’s OBGYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa reveals what women can do in their own lives to prevent breast cancer.

ribbon whiteBreast cancer is among the top two most common cancers in women today, second only to skin cancer. Although the number of new cases has begun to show a slight decrease, about 40,000 women are expected to lose their lives to breast cancer this year alone. Statistics tell us that about 1 out of every 8 women born in the United States today will get breast cancer at some point in their lives. The good news is that if it’s found and treated early enough, many women can, and will survive breast cancer. The drop in breast cancer mortality has been attributed to both improvements in breast cancer treatment and early detection.

Breast cancer typically shows up in four ways:

• during a screening examination
• before symptoms have developed
• after symptoms have developed
• when a woman self-detects a lump

By and large, most suspicious masses detected by a mammogram as well as most breast lumps will turn out to be benign or noncancerous and therefore do not grow uncontrollably or spread and become life-threatening. Microscopic analysis of breast tissue is necessary to arrive at a definitive diagnosis or to determine the extent of potential spread and to characterize the pattern of the disease. Tissue samples for this type of analysis are generally obtained by way of a needle or surgical biopsy.

The First Line of Defense – Early Detection

More than fifty percent of all cancer deaths could be prevented by making common sense healthy lifestyle choices such as not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating right, pursuing an active routine, and getting the recommended screenings. Early management of breast problems can contribute to a more positive outcome of any treatment that may be prescribed. Awareness of how to maintain breast health is important to living a healthy lifestyle that includes;

• self-breast exams
• breast checks during routine gynecologic exams
• screening mammographies

Self-check breast exams are relatively easy to perform at home and should be conducted monthly, this combined with annual breast exams with your physician at Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group will help to detect breast problems early-on. Depending on factors such as age and individual health, a more frequent interval of regular check-ups may be recommended for some women.

Healthy Lifestyle Choice Can Lower Risk

The American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines recommends some variation of the following healthy lifestyle choices for lowering the risk of many types of cancers, including breast cancer;

• Be physically active and include a routine of daily exercise
• Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
• Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily
• Include whole grain foods in your diet (such as whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa)
• Limit consumption of red meat and processed meat (particularly important for menopausal women)
• Limit “bad” fats (commonly found in red meat, fatty deli meats, poultry skin, full fat dairy, fried foods, margarine, donuts and microwave popcorn)
• Eat “good” fats (found in olive, canola and coconut oil, nuts, avocados and olives)
• Limit alcohol intake (no more than one drink a day for women)

Of all the healthy lifestyle choices for reducing breast cancer risk, the growing evidence associated with regular physical activity is perhaps the most impressive. Studies outlined by the National Institutes of Health now suggest that women who get regular physical activity have as much as 30 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who are inactive, and postmenopausal than premenopausal women show the best results. The benefit may be due to the overall effects of physical activity on body mass, energy balance and hormones. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity spread over the week (or an equivalent combination) is all it takes to reduce the risk of many cancers.

About Women’s OBGYN Medical Group

The provider team of expert OB/GYN physicians, certified nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners, and medical assistants provides unmatched care to patients in our region. As women proudly serving women, we understand the needs and expectations of our patients. For more information call (707) 579-1102. We urge you to contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians if you suspect that you may have any breast health problems.