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Study suggests non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin may help some patients survive head and neck cancer

Study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine

26 January 2019

PIK3CA is the most commonly altered oncogene in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). We evaluated the impact of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on survival in a PIK3CA-characterized cohort of 266 HNSCC patients and explored the mechanism in relevant preclinical models including patient-derived xenografts. Among subjects with PIK3CA mutations or amplification, regular NSAID use (≥6 mo) conferred markedly prolonged disease-specific survival (DSS; hazard ratio 0.23, P = 0.0032, 95% CI 0.09–0.62) and overall survival (OS; hazard ratio 0.31, P = 0.0043, 95% CI 0.14–0.69) compared with nonregular NSAID users. For PIK3CA-altered HNSCC, predicted 5-yr DSS was 72% for NSAID users and 25% for nonusers; predicted 5-yr OS was 78% for regular NSAID users and 45% for nonregular users. PIK3CA mutation predicted sensitivity to NSAIDs in preclinical models in association with increased systemic PGE2 production. These findings uncover a biologically plausible rationale to implement NSAID therapy in PIK3CA-altered HNSCC.

Please access the full article on the JEM website.