Aspirin and ibuprofen 'can boost head, neck cancer survival rates'
Regular use of aspirin or ibuprofen could dramatically boost survival from head and neck cancer, research suggests.
The common painkillers were found to increase the chance of survival from 25pc to 78pc for patients whose cancer contained a specific altered gene, known as PIK3CA. Around a third of head and neck cancers carry this mutation, and it is also found in other types of cancer.
Researchers at the University of California San Francisco looked at five-year survival rates for people diagnosed with the disease.
They found that regular use - on two days or more per week - of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, significantly improved survival for a third or more of patients with head and neck cancer.
Dr Jennifer Grandis, senior author of the paper, said: "The magnitude of the apparent advantage is strong, and could potentially have a positive impact on human health."
But Professor Janusz Jankowski, a Cancer Research UK-funded medicines expert, said: "Even though you can buy some of these medicines over the counter, drugs like aspirin can have serious side-effects so anyone thinking of taking them regularly should chat to their doctor."