Aspirin worth a look for preventing cervical cancer in HIV-infected women

Aspirin and other drugs that inhibit the synthesis of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) should be evaluated for their potential to prevent cervical cancer in women infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), say researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City, United States. They found that HIV influences the production of PGE2, a promoter of inflammation and tumor development.

Aspirin blocks cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-2, an important chemical in the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandin E2 has been linked to carcinogenesis in several tumor types, including cervical cancer.

According to a 2010 report by the WHO/ICO Information Centre on HPV and Cervical Cancer (, 134,420 women in India are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually, of whom 72,825 die from the disease. Cervical cancer ranks as the most frequent[s2If !is_user_logged_in()]…

[/s2If][s2If is_user_logged_in()] cancer among women in India, and the most frequent cancer among women 15 to 44 years old.

Key Point: Drugs that inhibit the synthesis of PGE2, including aspirin, may prove useful in reducing the risk of cervical cancer and systemic inflammation in HIV-infected women.

In the U.S. study, levels of COX-2 and urinary PGE-M, a biomarker of systemic PGE2, were assessed in 3 groups of women: 17 HIV-negative women with a negative human papilloma virus (HPV) test, 18 HIV-positive women who were negative for HPV, and 13 HIV-positive women who were also positive for HPV.

Levels of COX-2 mRNA were elevated in the women infected with HIV compared with those not infected with HIV, and were further elevated in those who were positive for both HIV and HPV compared with women who were positive for HIV but negative for HPV.

Median levels of urinary PGE-M were also elevated in the women infected with HIV and HPV and also in the HIV-infected women without HPV infection.

The median PGE-M values (in ng/mg creatinine) for the 3 groups were 6.81 in the HIV-negative/HPV-negative group, 11.05 in the HIV-positive/HPV-negative group, and 12.37 HIV-positive/HPV-positive group. HIV status was the only statistically significant predictor of urinary PGE-M levels (HPV infection was not significantly associated with PGE-M levels). Among the women infected with HIV, those with higher plasma HIV-1 viral load had significantly higher urinary PGE-M levels after controlling for age and HPV status.

Source: Fitzgerald DW, Bezak K, Ocheretina O, et al. The Effect of HIV and HPV Conifection on Cervical COX-2 Expression and Systemic Prostaglandin E2 Levels. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2012;5(1):34-40.

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This entry was posted in Infectious Disease, Ob/Gyn, Oncology, Pharmacology, Women's Health and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Volume: .

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