A leading team of expert researchers have confirmed that the commonly used drug of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) may play a part in fighting the growth of incurable asbestos related mesothelioma.

The team reported in “Yang.H, Aspirin delays mesothelioma growth by inhibiting HMGB1-medicated tumour progression, 11th June 2015 – Cell Death and Disease” and their findings are welcomed by all here at Asbestos Justice.

Aspirin is used by millions worldwide to reduce fever symptoms and to relieve mild to moderate pain from various conditions including, muscle ache, common cold, toothaches and migraines. It is also used by arthritis sufferers due to its anti-inflammatory properties to reduce pain and swelling.

Expert medical researchers at the University of Hawaii Cancer Centre and the Cedars Sinai Medical Centre in New York, working in conjunction with other experts based at Italian hospitals have revealed that such anti-inflammatory properties could benefit thousands of mesothelioma sufferers worldwide.

Mesothelioma is an asbestos related cancer which usually affects the thin lining of the lungs known as the pleura. The cancer tends to escalate and spreads quickly. This reaction is caused by an inflammatory response to the inhalation of harmful asbestos fibres and is connected to an inflammatory molecule called “high-mobility group box 1” (HMGB1).

The team’s research highlighted that the drug was already known to help reduce the incidence and spread of certain inflammation related cancers and sought to show that the same positive effects could be found in relation to asbestos related mesothelioma.

The experts made use of mice that were purposely infected with HMGB1, secreting or non-secreting human mesothelioma cell lines and administered aspirin and Box A, a HMGB1 inhibitor.

Dr Haining Yang of the University of Hawaii stated

“ASA/SA, at serum concentrations comparable to those achieved in humans taking therapeutic doses of aspirin and Box A, a specific inhibitor of HMGB1, markedly reduced malignant mesothelioma growth in xenograft mice and significantly improved survival of treated animals.”

Dr Yang and his colleague Michele Carbone of the same University are famous for having been part of the expert medical research team who first determined back in 2010 how asbestos causes mesothelioma by causing inflammation through the release of HMGB1.

The research team confirmed the belief that both aspirin and BoxA improved the survival of the mice with mesothelioma by restricting and inhibiting the activity of HMGB1. It was also found that use of BoxA in conjunction with aspirin targeted the HMGB1 more effectively, whilst also protecting the mice against gastrointestinal side effects of high doses of aspirin. In reducing HMGB1 it is thought the inflammation caused by mesothelioma will also be reduced.

In conclusion, Dr Yang and his team stated that their findings are “poised to provide broadly applicable information” that can be used to improve the outlook of patients with asbestos related mesothelioma.

Approximately 2,000 people per year are diagnosed with asbestos related mesothelioma in the UK each year and it is thought that the number of diagnosed cases will not peak until 2020. It is hoped that the expert team’s findings lead to a reduction in the spread of mesothelioma within sufferers. Asbestos Justice will continue to monitor developments on behalf of asbestos disease sufferers.


 If you, a family member or colleague are concerned over asbestos exposure, contact Asbestos Justice on 0800 038 6767 for expert legal advice.

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