Taichung, Taiwan—Low-dose aspirin is not only beneficial for reducing cardiovascular risks but also shows some protective effects against breast cancer in women with diabetes.

That’s according to a new study of nearly 149,000 women with diabetes published in the Journal of Women's Health. Taiwanese researchers found that over a 14-year period ending in 2011, the low-dose aspirin users had an overall 18% reduction in breast cancer risk, compared with those who did not.

For the research, led by a study team from Chung Shan Medical University Hospital and Hung Kuang University, low-dose was defined as intake of 75 mg to 165 mg daily. Results indicate that a high cumulative dosage of aspirin over the 14-year study period reduced breast cancer risk by 47%, but the same effect was not identified with low and medium cumulative dosages.

“Women with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of breast cancer, and these results suggest that the same low-dose aspirin that many of these women take to prevent cardiovascular disease may also help reduce their risk of breast cancer,” explained Susan G. Kornstein, MD, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Women's Health, executive director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health, Richmond, VA, and president of the Academy of Women’s Health.

Participants were aged an average of 63.3 years, and about 27,000 of them were taking aspirin. Their risk of breast cancer was reduced by 18%, hazard ratio [HR], 0.82, after adjustment for potential confounders, namely age and comorbidities. Overall, a cumulative dosage of aspirin exceeding 88,900 mg appeared to reduce the risk of breast cancer by 47%, HR, 0.53.

Low cumulative dosages—less than 8,600 mg—and medium cumulative dosages—8,600 mg to 8,900 mg—of aspirin did not reduce the risk of breast cancer, however, according to the report.

“Our findings suggest that a cumulative aspirin dosage of more than 88,900 mg daily was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer in women with diabetes,” study authors conclude. “However, additional studies are necessary to confirm these findings.”

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