22 September 2021

Chemopreventive Use of Aspirin to Reduce Ovarian Cancer

Researcher to Watch: Britton Trabert, PhD, MS

Ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women and the most fatal gynecologic cancer. Often, the signs and symptoms are “silent”, making it difficult to detect in its early stages. Chemoprevention, or the use of substances to stop cancer from developing, remains vastly understudied but represents an opportunity to reduce the ovarian cancer burden.

Geneva-funded researcher Britton Trabert, PhD, MS is a reproductive and cancer epidemiologist addressing this opportunity. She is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah and an Investigator in the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Research Program at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Dr. Trabert initiated this research as an intramural investigator in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute.

Under a Geneva-managed research study titled “Making the CASE: Chemopreventive use of Aspirin for Ovarian Cancer – Integrating Epidemiological Data to Evaluate Population Subgroups and Tumor Expression,” her research goal is to inform potential public health recommendations regarding aspirin as a chemopreventive agent for ovarian cancer.

“Research is needed to understand the influence of daily aspirin use on the long pathogenesis of cancer, to identify high-risk strata of women that will receive the most benefit from aspirin chemoprevention, and to evaluate the potential underlying mechanism(s) of action,” said Dr. Trabert. “We hypothesize that there are subgroups of women who will derive the most benefit from daily aspirin use with respect to ovarian cancer chemoprevention.”

Dr. Trabert’s award directly addresses the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program (OCRP) vision initiated in FY97 – to eliminate ovarian cancer, by addressing critical questions related to the prevention of ovarian cancer.

Using data from the Ovarian Cancer Cohort Consortium (OC3) and the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium, Dr. Trabert and her team are identifying subgroups of women who could most benefit from aspirin chemoprevention and exploring mechanisms by which aspirin reduces risk by utilizing tumor tissue from OC3 cohorts. The OC3 is part of the NCI Cohort Consortium, which is an extramural-intramural partnership to foster large-scale collaborations to pool data to conduct cancer research.

Her team has submitted a manuscript evaluating risk across strata of other ovarian cancers that has not been published yet but based on that analysis, Dr. Trabert commented: “Our research is showing that frequent aspirin use is associated with reduced ovarian cancer risk among women with multiple ovarian cancer risk factors.”

Collaborators on this award include the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of Iowa, and the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and University of Utah.

This award was funded by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA) under grant number W81XWH-19-1-0346.


Disclaimer: The views expressed do not reflect the official policy of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

Britton Trabert