Daily Aspirin Has No Effect on Breast Cancer Recurrence

Taking aspirin every day did not improve invasive disease-free survival in breast cancer patients, according to research presented at the ASCO Plenary Series session in February. Previous studies and cardiovascular disease trials indicated that taking aspirin daily improved breast cancer survival and lowered the risk of any kind of metastatic cancer. The latest study​, presented Feb. 15, is the first prospective, randomized investigation of whether aspirin prevents breast cancer recurrence. In the study, 3,021 patients with high-risk, HER2-negative breast cancer were randomly selected to receive either aspirin or a placebo daily for five years. After a median follow-up of 20 months, the study was discontinued because the data showed aspirin was unlikely to prevent breast cancer recurrence. “Although inflammation may still play a role in cancer progression, aspirin is not recommended for prevention of breast cancer recurrence,” said medical oncologist Wendy Y. Chen at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, the study’s lead author, in an ASCO news release.

CDC Modifies Vaccine Booster Guidance for Immunocompromised

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance Feb. 11 for some people with weakened immune systems, including immunocompromised cancer patients. The CDC advises that people with immune system deficiencies get a booster shot of the coronavirus vaccine three months after completing the initial series of three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots. The agency had previously recommended a five-month interval. The new guidance also said that immunocompromised people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster shot. “Although COVID-19 vaccines continue to work well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, we have seen reduced protection against mild and moderate disease,” the CDC said in a statement. “With the number of cases of COVID-19 still high across the United States and globally, this guidance helps to ensure that people have optimal protection against” the virus that causes the disease.

Keytruda Effective for Some With Advanced Anal Cancer

Keytruda (pembrolizumab) was effective in treating advanced anal cancer in a small number of patients taking part in the phase II KEYNOTE-158 clinical trial. Twelve of 112 patients with previously treated advanced anal squamous cell carcinoma responded to the therapy, according to the study ​published in Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology. Although only a small number of patients showed a response, six of the 12 for whom Keytruda was effective showed a complete response. Median overall survival for the patients who responded was 11.9 months. “These results suggest that pembrolizumab monotherapy is a possible treatment option” for patients “who have no alternative satisfactory treatment options,” the study authors wrote.