Monday , October 18 2021

Analgesics such as aspirin and ibuprofen can improve the survival rate of patients with head and neck cancer


Analgesics such as aspirin and ibuprofen improved the survival rate of patients with head and neck cancer with the mutated PIK3CA gene. How do these drugs block the growth of the tumor? ( Pixabay )

Taking common and cheap analgesics such as aspirin and ibuprofen can triple the survival possibilities of patients with head and neck cancer.


PIK3CA is the most frequently cured oncogene in head and neck cancers, with 34% of all tumors that carry mutations that activate the PIK3CA gene. In head and neck cancers linked to human papillomavirus (HPV), PIK3CA is mutated in more than half of the tumors.

In a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine On January 25, Jennifer Grandis, of the University of California of San Francisco, and colleagues involved 266 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck (HNSCC), the tumors were surgically eliminated.

The researchers found that in patients with cancer who had PIK3CA, regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAID, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, for at least six months improved the rate Over five years survival from 25 to 78 percent.

However, patients who had not been altered in the tumor had no effect if they were taking painkillers.


NSAIDs are a class of medications that reduce pain and inflammation. Aspirin and ibuprofen are an example of AINES. Other popular analgesics, such as paracetamol, work with a different process and are not classified as NSAIDs.

Researchers believe that NSAIDs can block the growth of the tumor by reducing the production of the prostaglandin E2 inflammation molecule.

Head and neck cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, about 65,000 people in the United States develop head and neck cancer every year. The disease can affect young people, but most patients have more than 50 years of age when diagnosed. Risk factors include alcohol use, HPV infection, and smoking.

The survival rate of five years is only 45%.

The findings of the new study suggest the potential of NSAID therapy in the treatment of patients with cancer with mutated PIK3CA, although studies still need to be continued to corroborate the results.

"These discoveries discover a biologically reasonable basis for implementing NSAID therapy in HNSCC altered by PIK3CA," the researchers wrote in their study.

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