Prolonged aspirin use tied to reduced colon cancer risk

Reuters Health Information: Prolonged aspirin use tied to reduced colon cancer risk

Prolonged aspirin use tied to reduced colon cancer risk

Last Updated: 2016-03-03

By Andrew M. Seaman

(Reuters Health) - People who regularly take aspirin over several years may be less likely to develop colon cancer, a new study hints.

"We did find that aspirin reduced someone's risk of developing cancer overall. Much of that reduced risk is of cancers of the gastric system," said senior author Dr. Andrew Chan of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

In 2015, the government-backed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said people taking aspirin for at least 10 years to prevent cardiovascular disease may also have a reduced risk of colon cancer. Previous research also suggested that routine aspirin use is linked to a reduced risk of overall cancer, Chan and his colleagues write in JAMA Oncology, online March 3.

For their new work, they used data on 88,084 women and 47,881 men participating in two large studies. Women were between ages 30 and 55 when they enrolled in 1976, and men were between ages 40 and 75 when they enrolled in 1986.

During about 32 years of follow up, there were 20,414 cancers among women and 7,571 among men.

Overall, people who took aspirin regularly were about 3% less likely to develop cancer than those who didn't regularly take aspirin.

Aspirin use was not tied to a decreased risk of breast, advanced prostate or lung cancers.

Instead, the lower risk was mostly due to a 15% reduced risk of gastrointestinal tract cancers, which was itself mostly due to a 19% reduced risk of colon cancers.

The new study suggests aspirin use may compliment colon cancer screening and lead to benefits among people who don't follow recommendations to get screened, write Karen Colbert Maresso and colleagues of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, in an editorial.

They note that about 17% of colon cancers could be prevented with regular aspirin use among people who don't get colonoscopies. About 9% of colon cancers could be prevented with regular aspirin use among people who do get screened.

In the study, the reduced risk of gastrointestinal cancers was tied to taking 0.5 to 1.5 aspirin tablets per week for at least six years.

"What it looks like is even reasonably low doses like a baby aspirin a day has some benefit," Chan said. "What's unclear is if higher doses have more of an effect. I think that question is still open."

The researchers warn that more information is needed on the cost-effectiveness of using aspirin for prevention and the possibility of side effects, including an increased risk of gastric bleeding.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/1njEQfx and http://bit.ly/1njEPbH

JAMA Oncol 2016.

© Copyright 2013-2019 GI Health Foundation. All rights reserved.
This site is maintained as an educational resource for US healthcare providers only. Use of this website is governed by the GIHF terms of use and privacy statement.