Effect of acetylsalicylic acid on radiation and cosmetic results after conservative surgery for early breast cancer: a randomized trial

Radiother Oncol. 1996 Oct;41(1):1-6. doi: 10.1016/s0167-8140(96)91825-3.


Background and purpose: Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) can reduce the incidence of stroke and myocardial infarction by inhibiting platelet-fibrin thrombi in small blood vessels. To determine if ASA could reduce late effects of radiation therapy mediated by damage to small blood vessels, a prospective, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial was conducted in women with early breast cancer, receiving radiotherapy to the conserved breast.

Materials and methods: Cosmetic outcome and late radiotherapy effects were recorded prospectively for 186 women with T1 or T2, pathologically node-negative breast cancer treated with breast conservation and randomized to receive ASA (325 mg daily) or placebo for 1 year from the start of radiation therapy. Radiation was a tangent pair to the breast alone delivering a modal dose of 44 Gy in 16 daily fractions in 22-25 days.

Results: Median follow-up is 6.5 years. The use of ASA has not had any effect on the acute (erythema, edema or discomfort) or late (induration, telangiectasia) effects of radiotherapy (all P > 0.10), the patients' or physicians' assessment of the cosmetic outcome (all P > 0.25) or rates of breast recurrence (P > 0.25).

Conclusion: ASA cannot be recommended to improve the outcome of radiotherapy complementing breast conserving surgery.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aspirin / administration & dosage
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use*
  • Breast / radiation effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy, Segmental
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Radiotherapy, High-Energy
  • Time Factors


  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Aspirin