First author Dr. Kevin Choe of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas said preclinical studies showed aspirin and other anti-coagulation medications -- warfarin, clopidogrel, enoxaparin, and/or aspirin -- might inhibit cancer growth and metastasis, but clinical data had been limited previously.
The current study looked at almost 6,000 men in the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor database of men who had prostate cancer treated.
About 2,200 of the men involved -- 37 percent -- were receiving anticoagulants. The risk of death from prostate cancer was compared between those taking anti-coagulants and those who were not.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, demonstrated 10-year mortality from prostate cancer was 3 percent in the group taking anti-coagulants, compared to the 8 percent who didn't take anticoagulants. The risk of cancer recurrence and bone metastasis also were significantly lower, the study said.
However, further analysis suggested that this benefit was primarily derived from taking aspirin, as opposed to other types of anti-coagulants, Choe said.
"The results from this study suggest that aspirin prevents the growth of tumor cells in prostate cancer, especially in high-risk prostate cancer, for which we do not have a very good treatment currently," Choe said in a statement.