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expert reaction to study looking at NSAIDs and survival in head and neck cancers

Research published in Journal of Experimental Medicine suggests a rationale for using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in head and neck cancers.

Prof Justin Stebbing, NIHR Research Professor of Cancer Medicine and Medical Oncology, Imperial College London, said:

“We know that inflammation is really important in cancer and can be used as part of the processes by which cancer cells spread and grow. Studies in colon, breast and other tumours have shown that anti-inflammatories may be helpful in patients with cancers that have certain mutations in them. This study in head and neck cancer takes that knowledge further with anti-inflammatories acting on 2 enzymes: the COX and PI3K proteins. We need to wait for results of future studies and ongoing ones to understand whether patients should take these drugs, when and how and in what dose. This is why the Add-Aspirin national study across cancer types is so important, where we measure survival in patients given aspirin or placebo, to try to understand the effects better.”

‘Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs predicts improved patient survival for PIK3CAaltered head and neck cancer’ by Matthew Hedberg et al. was published in Journal of Experimental Medicine at 14:00 UK time on Friday 25th January.

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