Aspirin After Cancer Diagnosis Linked to Lower Mortality

Drug linked to survival after colorectal cancer, especially in tumors overexpressing COX-2

TUESDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- The use of aspirin after the diagnosis of colorectal cancer -- especially tumors overexpressing cycooxygenase-2 (COX-2) -- may be associated with better survival, according to research published in the Aug. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Andrew T. Chan, M.D., of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,279 participants in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study diagnosed with stages I, II, or III colorectal cancer, who were followed for a median 11.8 years after diagnosis. Subjects provided information on their aspirin use, and investigators assessed COX-2 expression in many of the subjects' primary tumors.

The researchers found that subjects who regularly took aspirin after their diagnosis had a lower risk of colorectal cancer-specific mortality (multivariate hazard ratio, 0.71) and overall mortality (multivariate hazard ratio, 0.79), compared to nonusers. Aspirin use after diagnosis was associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer-specific mortality in those whose primary tumors overexpressed COX-2 (multivariate hazard ratio, 0.39), but not in those with COX-2-negative tumors.

"The survival benefits of aspirin were similar in patients who received standard adjuvant chemotherapy and those who did not, and in patients with stage I and stage II disease as well as those who had stage III disease at diagnosis. Thus, aspirin may have the potential to be useful as adjuvant therapy not just for locally advanced disease but for early stage patients as well," writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

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Eric Metcalf

Eric Metcalf

Published on August 11, 2009

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