Radiotherapy and Asprin

Prostate cancer has become the most common cancer in men in the UK. One in eight men will develop the condition at some point in their lives, with more than 47,000 new cases being diagnosed every year.

Radiotherapy, in combination with hormone treatment, is a "gold standard" treatment for prostate cancer, however it does not cure all men who receive this treatment, and it can cause significant side effects. There is preliminary evidence that aspirin can potentially have beneficial effects in men with prostate cancer, including perhaps in combination with radiotherapy.

We propose to test the theory that combining aspirin treatment with radiotherapy can result in an improved biological response against prostate cancer, perhaps through immune mechanisms.

Our preliminary evidence suggests that treatment with radiotherapy causes an increase in the Cox-2 enzyme that is directly inhibited by aspirin, and this Cox-2 molecule can itself cause a reduced anti-tumour immune response. Therefore, it could well be the case that adding aspirin to the radiotherapy treatment could block the function of Cox-2, thereby re-establishing the anti-tumour immune response, improving prostate cancer therapy.

Pictured are Professor Ian Mills (Top, Photo: John Cairns) and Professor Richard Bryant (Right) who will be working on the project.