Low-Dose Aspirin Can Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk

Researchers find 75 to 300 mg effective after several years' use

FRIDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term, low-dose aspirin intake may reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) by nearly a quarter, and the risk of death from CRC by more than a third, according to research published online Oct. 22 in The Lancet.

Peter M. Rothwell, of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues followed up on four randomized trials of aspirin versus control to assess the effects of aspirin on CRC incidence and mortality related to dose, treatment duration, and tumor site.

The researchers found that, during the mean follow-up of 18.3 years, 391 (2.8 percent) of 14,033 patients developed CRC. It appeared that aspirin use reduced the 20-year risk of CRC by 24 percent, and the mortality rate from CRC by 35 percent. The benefits did not increase at doses higher than 75 mg per day. The 20-year risk of any fatal CRC fell by an absolute value of 1.76 percent after five years of treatment with 75 to 300 mg aspirin per day. Most of the colon cancers prevented by aspirin therapy appeared to be cancers of the proximal colon.

"Aspirin taken for several years at doses of at least 75 mg daily reduced long-term incidence and mortality due to CRC. Benefit was greatest for cancers of the proximal colon, which are not otherwise prevented effectively by screening with sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, including Bayer.

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Monica Smith

Monica Smith

Published on October 22, 2010

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