REGULAR use of painkillers could dramatically improve the treatment of cancer, research suggests.

Aspirin and ibuprofen were found to increase survival rates from 25 per cent to 78 per cent for head and neck tumours.

A third of the cancers, which kill 4,000 Brits a year, alter gene PIK3CA.

The University of California San Francisco have found a “strong clinical advantage” of painkillers to deal with the mutation.

Writing in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, the authors said this is the first study to show a "strong clinical advantage" of regular NSAID use for head and neck cancer patients with mutations in the PIK3CA gene.

Dr Jennifer Grandis, a professor of head and neck surgery, and senior author of the paper, said: "Our results suggest that the use of NSAIDs could significantly improve outcomes for not only head and neck cancer patients, but also patients with other cancers that contained the PIK3CA mutation.

"The magnitude of the apparent advantage is strong, and could potentially have a positive impact on human health."