Taking aspirin is not a cancer treatment, but research suggests that the anti-inflammatory properties of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) may reduce the chance of getting some cancers.
The Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) has recently opened the OV.25 clinical trial that investigates if taking ASA can help women prevent ovarian cancer. Inflammation in the ovaries during ovulation is thought to contribute to the development of ovarian cancer and researchers want to understand if an anti-inflammatory intervention can help reduce the risk.
“This study will assign women to daily aspirin or placebo for 6-24 months before their preventive surgery. It will provide a better understanding of how ovarian cancers start and the influence aspirin may have,” says Dr. Stephanie Lheureux, OV.25 Lead Investigator and researcher at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
The study specifically targets women who have the confirmed genetic mutation BRCA1/BRCA2 but have not developed cancer — inherited BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations have an increased risk of ovarian cancers and developing it at a younger age.
For women with this high-risk gene mutation, the preventive measure is to surgically remove the fallopian tubes and ovaries. There is a window of opportunity before this type of surgery occurs where study participants are asked to take a specific doses of ASA. At the time of surgery, a tissue sample is taken to see if there are any pre-malignant lesions and if there is a reduction in inflammation with ASA versus placebo.
“This information is very important for researchers because it will be the first trial in a prevention setting where there will be a sample of the tissue at the time of surgery, to look at the biology of the tissue to see if taking ASA makes a difference,” explains Dr. Lheureux. This will allow us to understand how ovarian cancer develops and how we can prevent it.
In addition, blood samples from participants will be collected to access if a blood test screening tool can be used to detect early signs of ovarian cancer.