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Regular Aspirin Use Tied to Lower Risk for Digestive Tract Cancers

Favorable effect increases with longer duration of use, and, for colorectal cancer, with increasing dose


FRIDAY, May 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Regular aspirin use is associated with a lower risk for colorectal and other digestive tract cancers, according to a review published in the May 1 issue of the Annals of Oncology.

Cristina Bosetti, Ph.D., from the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS in Milan, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of all observational studies evaluating the association between aspirin and cancers of the digestive tract sites, published through March 2019.

The researchers found that regular aspirin use is associated with a reduced risk for colorectal cancer (relative risk [RR], 0.73 [95 percent confidence interval (CI), 0.69 to 0.78]; 45 studies), squamous cell esophageal cancer (RR, 0.67 [95 percent CI, 0.57 to 0.79]; 13 studies), adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and gastric cardia (RR, 0.61 [95 percent CI, 0.49 to 0.77]; 10 studies), stomach cancer (RR, 0.64 [95 percent CI, 0.51 to 0.82]; 14 studies), hepatobiliary tract cancer (RR, 0.62 [95 percent CI, 0.44 to 0.86]; five studies), and pancreatic cancer (RR, 0.78 [95 percent CI, 0.68 to 0.89]; 15 studies). There was no association with head and neck cancer (RR, 0.94 [95 percent CI, 0.76 to 1.16]; 10 studies). Findings were similar across sex, geographical areas, and other selected covariates. An aspirin dose of 75 to 100 mg/day lowers the risk for colorectal cancer by 10 percent, while a dose of 325 mg/day is associated with a 35 percent risk reduction. There was an inverse relationship noted between duration of aspirin use and risk reduction for all cancers, except head and neck cancers.

"Taking aspirin for the prevention of bowel cancer, or any other cancers, should only be done in consultation with a doctor, who can take account of the person's individual risk," a coauthor said in a statement.

The study was supported by Bayer.

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