Recent research has tied regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, to longer survival in some people with head and neck cancer.
Aspirin may improve the outlook for some people living with head and neck cancer.
The researchers propose that there should now be a clinical trial to test the effectiveness and safety of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for this purpose. They suggest that the effect that they observed is likely due to the NSAIDs reducing prostaglandin E2, a molecule that promotes inflammation.
Head and neck cancers are cancers in which tumors develop in the nose, sinuses, larynx, throat, and mouth.
In most cases, the tumors arise in the flat thin squamous cells that form the tissue lining of surfaces. For this reason, they bear the name head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs). In the United States, people with HNSCCs account for around 4 percent of all those with cancer. These types of cancer also tend to have a lower rate of survival compared with many other types. The main risk factors for HNSCC are tobacco use, heavy use of alcohol, sun exposure, and infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Aspirin and HNSCC
Previous research has suggested that taking aspirin regularly can reduce the risk of developing HNSCCs. However, the recent study is the first to link the use of aspirin and other NSAIDs to longer survival in some people who already have HNSCC.