Vitamin D Lowers the Risk of Getting Influenza A and Asthma Attacks?

Is it possible that vitamin D supplementation could reduce children’s risk of coming down with Influenza A by 58%, and of having an asthma attack by 83%?

Amazing as these claims might seem, this is what was reported in the March 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The students in this study – which was performed in Japan – ranged in age from 6-15 years of age, and they were given Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) at a daily dose of 1200 IU (International Units).

Although these improvements were observed for Influenza A and asthma attacks, there didn’t seem to be any effect on the occurence of Influenza B.

I first ran across this study in a article published in Reuters that was titled ‘Vitamin D helps fend off flu, asthma attacks: study’.

You can see a copy of it at this web address – , and you can find a copy of the article they’re referencing at this web address – .

If you want to read it you’ll have to buy a copy from the journal, but I’ve posted an excerpt from their abstract here for your review:

Results: Influenza A occurred in 18 of 167 (10.8%) children in the vitamin D3 group compared with 31 of 167 (18.6%) children in the placebo group [relative risk (RR), 0.58; 95% CI: 0.34, 0.99; P = 0.04]. The reduction in influenza A was more prominent in children who had not been taking other vitamin D supplements (RR: 0.36; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.79; P = 0.006) and who started nursery school after age 3 y (RR: 0.36; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.78; P = 0.005). In children with a previous diagnosis of asthma, asthma attacks as a secondary outcome occurred in 2 children receiving vitamin D3 compared with 12 children receiving placebo (RR: 0.17; 95% CI: 0.04, 0.73; P = 0.006).

Conclusion: This study suggests that vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter may reduce the incidence of influenza A, especially in specific subgroups of schoolchildren. This trial was registered at as UMIN000001373.

The reference for the article is:

Mitsuyoshi Urashima, Takaaki Segawa, Minoru Okazaki, Mana Kurihara, Yasuyuki Wada, and Hiroyuki Ida. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr May 2010 vol. 91 no. 5 1255-1260.

Two thoughts come to mind. 1. I wonder if the influenza vaccine can match these results for Influenza A?, and 2. I suppose it should improve adults odds also.

So, I’m going to keep on taking my 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 every day. Just in case.

Remember, I’m a pharmacist – not a doctor. Check with your doctor before changing your medication regimens or adding any supplements to your daily routine.

Doctors Doctor. Pharmacists Pharmacist. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

Curcumin – Using Whole Root Tumeric As A Source

Curcumin is known to exert strong restraining effects on cancer cells.

But it is notoriously hard to get absorbed into your system.

I do not believe in the capsule and tablet supplements. There is just too much opportunity to screw it up. I am also a strong believer in using whole root extracts when possible.

So, here’s a recipe for an oil blended tumeric product that will provide an economic source of curcumin that should be more bioavailable.

Get yourself a piece of raw tumeric root. You will be able to find it at your grocery store. If not, find an asian grocery store.

Vigorously rinse it off  to get everything off of it – twice. Peel it. Then dip it in a strong salt bath for a few minutes.

Now, grind it up in a little extra virgin olive oil – enough to cover the tumeric completely.

BE CAREFUL! Tumeric will stain everything it comes in touch with a brilliant orange color. I’m not kidding.

Once you’ve ground it up with the extra virgin olive oil and then transfer it to a glass container.

Add a little to your soups, stir fry meals, etc… The oil makes it much more palatable – and increases the absorbtion once you eat it.

Store it in the refrigerator. Don’t make more than a few days worth at a time. If you made too much freeze the extra.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids – A Recipe for An Affordable Organic Non-Fish Source

As I researched the role of chronic inflammatory states on the incidence of cancer I repeatedly found references to the need to increase Omega-3 Fatty Acid intake.

There are many websites out there that have posts about increasing the amount of Omega-3 FattyAcid you eat or consume in supplement form.

Most of them are also trying to sell you a product that they claim will give you what you need.

As I researched the information that was available I blundered upon products manufactured for Udo Erasmis, PhD. You can find a link to his website here: . He has also written a book titled ‘Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill’.

At first, I ignored this guy’s products. But, as I continued to research the topic I kept finding more and more support for Dr Erasmis’ claims.

So – I bought his book. After reading it a couple of times I bought some of his oil so my family member who had cancer could integrate it into her regimen.

As I researched Udo’s ingredients and their properties I became very concerned about the possiblity that some of them could act as estrogen receptor stimulants. I want to emphasize, I remain undecided about whether they might cause estrogen receptor stimulation or not. Better safe than sorry, I thought. So, we stopped the oil.

But I really wanted to add the Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids in the ratio Dr Erasmis proposed.

Thinking the problem over for several days – and remembering references and comments from Dr Erasmis’ book – I decided to formulate my own version of his oil.

It costs less than Udo’s Oil to make, tastes good, and has a biochemical make up that I judge to be roughly equivalent to Udo’s Oil without the compounds I was worried about.

To make it go to your local health food store and buy some cold pressed hemp seed oil and cold pressed high lignin flaxseed oil. (yes, flaxseed lignins are known to interact with estrogen receptors. but the research seems to support an interaction that does not stimulate estrogen receptors.)

You’ll find them in the refrigerator section. If they’re not, go somewhere else. I’m serious. These oils are delicate and need to be refrigerated to retain their beneficial properties. NEVER heat them up to cooking temperatures.

Mix the oils in a ration of three teaspoons of the flaxseed oil to one teaspoon of the hemp seed oil.

That’s it. Simple, eh?

Keep these oils and your oil mix in the refrigerator. Store them in a glass container. If you must use plastic use a plastic bottle like the ones the oils come in originally. Don’t ever cook with them. Shake the container to mix the two oils before you pour the mix out of its container.

Use them in a vinaigrette or added to a soup just before you serve it.

I take somewhere between one to three tablespoons a day of this oil mix. I usually mix it with balsamic vinegar and use the mix as a salad dressing or dip for bread.

Now, to make sure you know what I’m talking about – I am NOT talking about Hemp Oil that people claim to be using to cure cancer and other maladies. You are looking for Hemp Seed Oil. It has the THC removed from it before it’s imported into the United States from Canada.

I do not have any kind of relationship with Dr Erasmis. I do not get any benefit from your buying and using his oil blend. But, I believe he’s darned sharp – and I believe in his oil blend.

If you’re worried about estrogen receptor stimulation I’d use my oil blend.

Oh yeah, stop using other cooking oils. Start using extra virgin coconut oil to fry and cook your foods.

If you want to get a copy of his book and support this website you can click on the ‘Fats That Heal Fats That Kill’ book cover located on the right side of this website. You’ll be taken to Barnes and Noble and if you buy from them at that time they might send me some cash for you buying the book from them. Regardless of how you get a copy of it, I highly recommend you get a copy and read it for yourself. Also read through the postings at Dr Erasmus’ website.

Again, I am a Pharmacist. Not a nutrition expert. Not a Physician. Check with your Physician to make sure he/she supports getting your Omega-3s and Omega-6s in this manner.

Ovarian Cancer Treatment Protocols Should Include An Aromatase Inhibitor

I’ve pasted an excerpt from a protocol proposal I wrote for an Ovarian Cancer patient later in this blog.

The goal of the protocol was the prolongation of remission, and it was implemented after the patient had completed her cycles of chemotherapy and surgery.

I strongly believe this is appropriate therapy for patients who have reached this stage – and I believe it would be appropriate as an attempt to extend the lives of those who have not been able to achieve remission or who have relapsed.

It is most probable that your physician will not propose it unless you ask her/him to. So, ask!

It might also be appropriate for patients who are receiving chemotherapy treatments – with the caveat that I would not use an aromatase inhibitor within the week before a chemo treatment and for 3 days after the treatment.

The reasoning behind this position lies in the need to have the cancer cells acting like cancer cells for the chemotherapy to kill them. You do not want their growth and progression suppressed when you’re giving chemotherapy. I believe that the aromatase inhibitors will slow down their growth and progression, an undesirable outcome if you’re trying to kill them with chemotherapy.

Anyway, the aromatase inhibitor choice for this patient’s protocol was made by her oncologist. He/she picked Femara® (aka letrozole). It’s expensive. But, there seem to be some coupon programs that will reduce your cost. You can find info about this drug and the coupon program at .

Additionally, a review of the information that is provided by Micromedex™ (a drug info service healthcare providers and pharmacists trust and reference frequently) indicates that you could probably get by by taking 1/4th of a tablet every day after you’ve taking the full tablet for a week or so if you had to.


Estrogen receptors are reported to drive the growth and progression of many ovarian cancer tumors. In fact, it is reported that > 90% of confirmed ovarian cancers have lost their progesterone receptors’ function. This allows unopposed estrogen receptor stimulation of the tumor’s cells, and it has been reported that > 80% have retained their estrogen receptors’ functionality.74 Thus, it appears mandatory to incorporate an agent into this protocol to block the effect of estrogen on estrogen receptors. Aromatase inhibitors appear to retain their functionality longer than estrogen receptor blockers, and are reported to be better tolerated by patients. Selection of the agent from this category will be left to the patient’s physicians, as they are undoubtedly more familiar with the tradeoffs that must be considered to make this recommendation.

The reference citation for the info in this excerpt is:

S. Ho 2003. Review – Estrogen, Progesterone and Epithelial Ovarian Cancer. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 1:73 1-8.

You can get a free copy of it at .

As always, I am providing info for you to take to your physician for discussion. I do not know the details of anyone’s specific cases and I’m a Pharmacist – not a Physician. These recommendations must be reviewed and implemented by your physician. I have done my best to make sure the info and conclusions I’ve presented are correct. But, it is a theoretical discussion that may or may not apply to any specific cancer.

But, if I didn’t strongly believe in what I’ve said above you know I wouldn’t have taken the time to share it with you.

To get more important information and a different point of view read this post. It’s especially important if you’re post-menopausal.

‘Are Many Ovarian Cancers (Especially Post-Menopausal) Driven By Male Hormones???’

Remember, Cancers are Like Snowflakes – each is unique and different from others.

Pharmacists Pharmacist. Doctors Doctor. Patients try to survive. We’re all trying to get to the same goal.

Medical Marijuana Probably Works? Are You NUTS?

So, let’s talk a little bit about the mechanisms that might be behind Medical Marijuana’s ability to affect so many illnesses.

I’m going to keep the discussion at the summary and overview level. This is much too complicated a subject to cover in a single blog entry.

But I will also provide you with some links that you can follow if you want to follow this topic down the rabbit hole.

There is a family of cell receptors in the body called cannibinoid receptors. There are at least two of them, CB1 and CB2. They’re influenced by chemicals your body makes called endocannibinoids, and the’re found everywhere in your body.

They undoubtedly serve many functions beyond what we’ve discovered so far.

But, in general we now know that the chemicals that interact with these receptors (the endocannibinoids) play key roles in the regulation of your body’s response to inflammatory conditions. They also act as ‘shock absorbers’ for your body’s nerve sytem’s reactions to chemicals that are associated with your responses to things that stress you out or cause you to be frightened – e.g. the ‘fight or flight’ system. AND, they are associated with immune system response.

Although Delta-9-THC is the chemical everyone talks about – because it seems to be the source of the most psychoactive effects of marijuana use – there are many, many more chemicals contained in whole marijuana extracts that are just as likely to exert positive effects on a person’s biochemical systems. In fact, synergy with these chemicals seems to be the key to Delta-9-THC’s use without serious anxiety related side effects.

This is not new information. It has been known for a very long time. I cannot tell you why it is not being made general information for the masses. I will simply state the fact that what is being made public is at best incomplete and misleading.

If you want a more detailed discussion of the endocannibinoid and cannibinoid chemicals and the receptors they affect I recommend you take a look at the info wikipedia has. A good web addess to start at is this one – .

I also find the information at Dr Robert Melamede’s website extremely interesting. You can find it here – . I think this one is a good place to start – .

I feel that I must also disclose that I am a stock holder in Cannabis Science Inc, and that Dr Melamede is the CEO and President of this company. The link to the company’s website is here – .

I stumbled across the company as a result of studying Dr Melamede’s publications. I was checking out whether the claims about Medical Marijuana (particulary Rick Simpson’s Hemp Oil claims) and its usefulness for cancer treatment made sense or not. See this link if you don’t know what I’m talking about – .

I don’t pay much attention to what this company is doing, I trust Dr Melamede and his collegues know what they’re doing. I have no idea if they’ll be able to succeed or not. They’re working against strong odds.

Again, I’m only providing information for you to consider and study. I am NOT recommending that you use marijuana. That is a discussion that should occur between you and your physician.

I also do not recommend stocks or investment strategies.

Remember, Pharmacists Pharmacist. Doctors Doctor. Stock Brokers Stock Broker. Let’s keep it that way.

Medical Marijuana – Just Another Excuse To Get Stoned?

Medical Marijuana is illegal in America.

Because of the position of the Federal Government, this is the bottom line despite Medical Marijuana laws that continue to be adopted by more and more states.

Pharmacists attempt to stay in line with the laws of the land, and always comply with the most restrictive interpretation of State and Federal law.

So – I am going to make sure that I state this clearly. I do not encourage the use of Marijuana in violation of Federal Law. I do not use Marijuana. I have never used Marijuana – and don’t intend to.

Having said this, I also want to tell you that I strongly believe that Marijuana (aka ‘hemp’) is a plant that has many medicinal and economic benefits – and the Federal government will undoubtedly be forced into changing its rules in response to the legislative tsunami that is sweeping across the states that make up the United States of America.

I am not going to debate the social and moral implications of casual marijuana use. I am agnostic on this topic. I am completely uninterested in the debate over whether people should be able to get ‘stoned’. Whatever society decides is ok with me, with the caveat that we’re spending a damned lot of money chasing people down and putting them into jails.

I am also not going to address the many industrial applications of the hemp plant other than to direct you to your local health food store and the many products that are being sold there after being imported from Canada and other countries around the world. It angers me to have to import these products and to sacrifice the money our farmers and factories could be making if they could produce and use hemp fiber, oils, seeds, and other products. It should anger you too. Obviously, I am not agnostic in this area.

OK, so now let’s talk about Medical Marijuana.

No one who has objectively studied the issue can deny that Medical Marijuana is effective, and in many cases as effective or more effective than what we presently offer through our medical system. Despite efforts from anti-marijuana entities, there is simply too much evidence coming to light around the world to be able to continue to deny the efficacy of Marijuana for the treatment of a multitude of medical conditions.

I first became really aware of Medical Marijuana in pharmacy school. We were given the task of designing a transdermal ‘marijuana’ patch. You know, kind of a ‘Pot’ version of the nicotine patch. It was kind of a joke project, but as I researched the topic I found that research into the use of marijuana compounds was progressing around the world, except in America. I also found that some of the most significant research was being done in Israel.

In fact, I found that an Israeli researcher had already figured out a way to make a Delta- 9-THC patch. As you might imagine, this made completion of my project easy. But, on my way to finding the researcher’s data I learned a lot about marijuana and its constituents’ chemical and medical properties – the most significant of which was the knowledge that delivering pure Delta-9-THC by mouth is a bad idea. Many people experience anxiety side effects when this drug is delivered through the gastrointestinal tract and the liver’s metabolism without the balancing effects of the rest of the chemicals that exist in natural marijuana extracts.

Then I forgot about the topic.

Until I had to research cancer therapies and alternative medicine approaches to cancer treatment.

By that time a marijuana extract inhaler had been approved in the United Kingdom and Canada for use in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis and neuropathic cancer pain. (At this time it is also undergoing clinical trials in the USA, and other countries around the world. Amazing what the involvement of major pharmaceutical companies can catalyze, eh?)

I also stumbled across a video that was made by what appears to be an extremely dedicated and well meaning group of Canadians who are led by a man named Rick Simpson.

It’s  titled ‘Run From The Cure‘, and it documents the use of an extremely concentrated hemp extract for the treatment of a multitude of illnesses, the most significant of which is cancer.

Run From The Cure‘ presents an extremely interesting account of this group’s discoveries and the obstacles they ran into when trying to publicize them.

I want to emphasize this point – as far as I can tell, these folk are NOT hippies or drug addicts. They appear to be of the most sincere and down to earth persuasion you could find.

Although I continue to monitor the stories and information that is posted at their website(, I do not know if their claims are true.

But I will tell you this, they make darned persuasive advocates for what they’re claiming – and I read their posts with great interest.

I will not bore you with the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic information that I’ve factored into my assessment of their info right now. I’ll simply say that what they claim warrants serious consideration. If you are involved with a cancer patient I think you should also listen to what they have to say with an open mind.

You can find two of the most interesting videos that they’ve produced at these two web addresses.

(the Run From The Cure video and several others are available here)

(this seminar recording is broken up into several parts – i think there are 8 of them – increasingly interesting as you get further into them)

Watch them with an open mind, and don’t get bogged down in the politics, etc… These people have been forced to do battle with Goliath, and that will cause you to get really opinionated and bitter. Stay focused on whether there might be something useful for treating cancer and other diseases. That’s the issue we’re wanting to investigate.

I am just a messenger delivering information in this posting. I am not advocating for your use of Medical Marijuana. I remind you that it is illegal – REALLY illegal – because the Federal Government says it is.

Put aside the reactions that you’ve been programmed to have to this topic. Watch the videos and read the information that is available with an open mind. Talk it over with your physicians

Remember, I’m CRAZY.

Pharmacists Pharmacist, Physicians Physician… as it should be.

Prostate Cancer Death Rates Cut By 50% By Aspirin and Other Anticoagulant Medications Use?

In a presentation that will occur at this year’s annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology Dr Kevin Choe will present the results of a study that shows that the use of aspirin and other anticoagulant medications is associated with around a 47% decrease in death risk for prostate cancer patients whose tumors have not metastasized.

Of course, aspirin use demonstrated the highest risk reduction.

I’d give you a link to the article, but it hasn’t been published yet.

You can get a preview of what it has to say at these links.

The authors propose a mechanism for this effect that involves prevention of platelets surrounding and protecting cancer cells that are entering blood circulation.

This actually might make sense, although I suspect that the superior effect observed for aspirin is the result of their effect combinging with the effect of aspirin on COX enzyme pathways and their stimulation of inflammation and metastasis activity.

Anyway, their observations and theory are very interesting.

Of course, it’s too early to recommend that people take an aspirin a day to cut their cancer risks.

Yeah, right.

I’m going to keep taking mine. You’ll have to decide on your own what you want to do.

Again, Pharmacists Pharmacist. Doctors Doctor. You should NEVER start a medication or alter your medication regimens without talking to your physician first. Be safe.

Aspirin Reduces Breast Cancer Occurence By Acting As An Aromatase Inhibitor?

In May of 2004 JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) published an article titled ‘Association of Frequency and Duration of Aspirin Use and Hormone Receptor Status With Breast Cancer Risk’.

The citation for this article is Mary Beth Terry, PhD; Marilie D. Gammon, PhD; Fang Fang Zhang, MD, MPH; Heba Tawfik, MD, MPH; Susan L. Teitelbaum, PhD; Julie A. Britton, PhD; Kotha Subbaramaiah, PhD; Andrew J. Dannenberg, MD; Alfred I. Neugut, MD, PhD. Association of Frequency and Duration of Aspirin Use and Hormone Receptor Status With Breast Cancer Risk. JAMA. 2004;291:24 2433-2440.

A free copy of it is available at:

In summary, this article says that these researchers found evidence that aspirin use before and after menopause is associated with a significant reduction in breast cancer occurence risk for tumors that are estrogen or progesterin receptor positive, with recent use and frequency of use increasing the apparent risk reduction. They do not discuss doses, but other publications indicate that cancer risk reduction occurs with doses of 81-325mg per day. Estrogen and progesterone receptor negative tumors do not seem to be protected against by whatever mechanism is causing the protective effect.

Interestingly, the researchers also found a risk reduction in post menopausal females who took ibuprofen. But frequency didn’t seem to be a factor in the predictive effect. Perhaps there is another mechanism that is being observed here? Anyway, I remain uncertain relative to how to use the ibuprofen data.

As I’m sure you understand, there are many, many articles out there that discuss the association of aspirin and NSAID use and breast cancer risk reduction. Not all of them agree that there is a reduction benefit. Wanting to present you with an unbiased set of data to evaluate I suggest you take a look at this article to get a feel for the other point of view.

A. Heather Eliassen, ScD; Wendy Y. Chen, MD, MPH; Donna Spiegelman, ScD; Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPH; David J. Hunter, MBBS, ScD; Susan E. Hankinson, ScD. Use of Aspirin, Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs, and Acetaminophen and Risk of Breast Cancer Among Premenopausal Women in the Nurses’ Health Study II. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(2):115-121.

You can find a copy of it at: It’s free.

Then again, there are a lot of articles that support the belief that aspirin and/or NSAIDs have a breast cancer chemoprevention effect. Like this one.

Bahi Takkouche, Carlos Regueira-Méndez and Mahyar Etminan. Breast Cancer and Use of Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs: A Meta-analysis.JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (2008) 100 (20): 1439-1447. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djn324

You can find a copy of this article at: There is no cost for this document either.

We’re going to keep taking our 325mg of aspirin per day in my house.

As always, talk to your physician before starting or changing any medication regimen. Pharmacists Pharmacist. Doctors Doctor.

‘Cancer Salves’ – A Book About Non-Traditional Cancer Treatment Options Very Few Have Heard About

I write this post for those who do not believe that the ‘traditional’ medical system holds the cure for their cancers.

Unfortunately, they may be right.

As far as I can tell, our fight against Cancer has been an almost complete failure if achieving long term ‘cures’ is used as the definition of success.

We may not kill as many with our therapies as they used to, but I do not believe that we can claim significant across-the-board cure rate improvements either.

Frankly, we have not gotten our money’s worth from the research that we have been funding.

These beliefs did not come easily. But, hard analysis of what I have known but refused to admit and what I have seen but refused to see has led me to consider all possibilities in my search for a way to extend my family member’s life.

Thus, I have found myself having to read and consider proposals and claims that are difficult to wrap my head around.

The contents of this book – ‘Cancer Salves – A Botanical Approach To Treatment’ –  is a good example of what I am talking about.

The author, Ingrid Naiman, is a rich source for information about alternative medicine’s cancer treatment techniques and the history behind them.

She details one thread of that history in this book – the history of the use of escharotic salves and pastes and tonics to treat cancers.

It is an extremely interesting book, and an amazing series of stories and information that she shares.

Although these techniques are probably most effective when used to treat non-metastatic tumors that are close to the surface, I cannot guarantee that this is the limit of their utility.

I assure you, this is information you will not find being provided to you in your doctor’s office.

She provides a historical backdrop for the reader while explaining in great detail how the salves and tonics are believed to work, and how to use them. A wealth of practical advice and information relative to the strengths and weaknesses of the various products and techniques is also woven into the book’s narrative. Additionally, there are recipes for different versions of these salves, pastes and tonics in the back of the book – information that it would be difficult for most people to track down in time.

Now for a caveat. These salves can be dangerous in the hands of someone who does not know what he/she is doing. You can see the results of not knowing what is going on and how to properly apply them at this web address: .

I have exchanged several e-mails with the author. She is an amazing fountain of information – and I would encourage anyone looking for alternative paths to go to her website, read the information that is posted there, establish communications with her.

The link to one of her websites is .

It is possible that what you are looking for is there.

As always, Pharmacists Pharmacist. Doctors Doctor. Don’t try to deal with these salves on your own. Get your physician involved – and be very, very careful.

Aspirin and NSAIDs Appear To Reduce the Progression of Barrett’s Esophagitis to Cancer

Esophageal Cancer is a terrible disease that has an extremely high mortality rate. It often occurs as a progression from Barrett’s Esophagitis, which is believed to be caused by repeated exposure of the esophagus (the ‘tube’ that transports what you eat to your stomach) to stomach acid – aka acid reflux.

There are numerous studies that have indicated that chronic use of aspirin and some NSAIDs can significantly reduce the risk of Barrett’s Esophagitis progressing to Esphogeal Cancer.

The mechanisms behind this abilty to stop or slow the progression of inflammed tissues of the Esophagus to cancerous conditions appear to be the same as those behind the reduction of cancer risks at other sites when aspirin is taken on a continuous basis.

We’ve talked about this before. I won’t belabor the point or the mechanisms. Instead, I’m going to post excerpts from a couple of journal articles that I think summarize the situation best.

The first article is titled ‘NSAIDs Modulate CDKN2a, TP53, and DNA Content Risk for Progression to Esophageal Adenocarcinoma’. It was written by Galipeau PC, Li X, Blount PL, Maley CC, Sanchez CA, Odze RD, Ayub K, Rabinovitch PS, Vaughn TL and Reid BJ – and it was published in 2007 in the journal PLoS Medicine (February 2007, Volume 4, Issue 2, e67 – pp 0342-0354).

You can get a free copy of it at .

In the abstract for this article the authors say ‘In patients with zero, one, two, or three baseline panel abnormalities, there was a significant trend toward EA risk reduction among NSAID users compared to nonusers (p=0.01) The strongest protective effect was seen in participants with multiple genetic abnormalities, with NSAID nonusers having an observed 10-y EA risk of 79%, compared to 30% for NSAIDS users (p < 0.001)’. They close their abstract by saying ‘A combination of 17p LOH, 9p LOH, and DNA content abnormalities provided better EA risk prediction than any single TP53m CDKN2A, or DNA content lesion alone. NSAIDs are associated with reduced EA risk, especially in patients with multiple high-risk molecular abnormalities.’ In the editor’s summary for this article they say ‘Overall, just 12% of patients with no abnormalities but nearly 80% of patients with three abnormalities developed esophageal cancer. NSAID risk reduced the risk of cancer in all of the participants, but its effect was greatest in those with three genetic abnormalities.’

So – what the heck did they say? Well, EA is their abbreviation for Esophageal Cancer. Progression from normal esophageal cells to cancer cells appears to follow a path of repeated mutation as a result of chronic irritation caused by repeated exposure to stomach acid. The genetic mutations and characteristics they identified in this study seem to be very highly associated with the final progression of Barrett’s Esophagitis to cancer. Aspirin and NSAID use appears to cause a reduction in the progression of Barrett’s Esophagitis cells to cancer, and the higher the number of mutations that are observed in a person’s cells the higher the protective effect of aspirin and NSAIDs.

The second article is titled ‘Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and risk of neoplatic progression in Barrett’s oesophagus: a prospective study’, and it was published in the journal Lancet Oncology in November of 2005. (Lancet Oncology, 2005; 6:945-952). The authors were Vaughn TL, Dong LM, Blount PL, Ayub K, Odze RD, Sanchez CA, Rabinovitch PS and Reid BJ. (Yes – I know – these authors contributed to the other article also.)

You can get a copy of this article – but it will cost you unless you can get access to it through your library’s reference librarian, or at a major university’s library – or maybe even through a major hospital’s medical library. Look for a ‘teaching’ hospital, they usually have good online access.

Anyway, in closing their discussion of the findings for this study the authors said ‘Our findings lend support to previous observational studies and animal studies, in that use of aspirin and other NSAIDs might protect against development of oesophageal adenocarcinoma in NSAID users; the incidence of oesophageal adenocarcinoma for former users approached that of never users about 36 months after baseline assessment. People with high-grade dysplasia who reported current NSAID use had a lower risk of neoplastic progression than did those with high grade dysplasia who reported former or never use of NSAID, suggesting that NSAID use might be an effective intervention even at late stages of neoplastic progression.’

Translation: If you have Barrett’s Esophagitis aspirin and NSAIDs reduce your risk of having the cells of the esophagus turn cancerous – even in cases where the cells are really screwed up. So, it might be possible to reduce the progression to cancer in even very severe cases with aspirin or NSAIDs.

To make sure you know I am looking at the studies that don’t support my belief in aspirin and NSAIDs and their ability to prevent or slow the progression of cancer I am also posting the link to a journal article that disagrees with the idea that aspirin can change the rate of progression of Barrett’s Esophagitis to cancer. I haven’t been able to get a copy of the article yet… but I  will the next time I’m at the library.

‘Aspirin is not chemoprotective for Barrett’s Adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus in multicentre cohort’

That said… I’m going to keep taking my regular strength aspirin every day till this argument gets sorted out.

You know the drill by now… I’m a Pharmacist, not a physician. You MUST talk to your physician and get his/her guidance before changing your medication regimen or adding aspirin or NSAIDs to your daily routine. Remember, Pharmacist Pharmacist – Doctors Doctor. As it should be.