Role of Aspirin in Breast Cancer Survival

  • Wendy Y. ChenEmail author
  • Michelle D. Holmes
Breast Cancer (B Overmoyer, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Breast Cancer


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.


Breast cancer Aspirin Survival Inflammation COX-2 


Compliance With Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Wendy Y. Chen and Michelle D. Holmes have received aspirin and placebo from Bayer Pharmaceuticals for a randomized trial of aspirin for breast cancer survivors. Dr. Chen serves as the study chair, and Dr. Holmes serves as the co-principal investigator.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical OncologyDana Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA
  2. 2.Channing Division of Network MedicineBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA

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