Daily Aspirin Reduces Cancer Risk: Studies By Rothwell and Team


Rothwell et al studies link aspirin to reduction in cancer risk.

The NewYork Times reported that new research findings, published in The Lancet, link daily intake of aspirin to preventing and treating cancer. The research adds to the growing evidence that aspirin may be able to prevent certain types of cancer.

Researchers, Dr. Peter M. Rothwell, Professor, clinical neurology, and his team from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, has published three papers as evidence.

The first paper titled, Short-term effects of daily aspirin on cancer incidence, mortality, and non-vascular death: analysis of the time course of risks and benefits in 51 randomised controlled trials’, studied cancer deaths in randomized trials of daily aspirin versus control. The time course of effects of low dose aspirin on cancer incidence and other outcomes were also examined. The results indicated that aspirin even when taken for shorter durations could induce reductions in cancer incidence and mortality. The risk of dying from cancer reduced by 37% after a period of 5 years. Extended use of aspirin reduced the incidence of gastrointestinal bleeding too.

The second paper titled, ‘Effect of daily aspirin on risk of cancer metastasis: a study of incident cancers during randomized controlled trials’, provided proof that aspirin can help in treating some cancers thus stating that pharmacological intervention may prevent metastasis. The risk of metastasis was found to reduce by 36% and a 46% reduction was observed in adenocarcinomas like colon, lung, and prostate cancer.

The third paper, ‘Effects of regular aspirin on long-term cancer incidence and metastasis: a systematic comparison of evidence from observational studies versus randomized trails’, compared the effects of aspirin on risk and outcome of cancer in randomized studies and observational studies. Results of the study indicate that regular use of aspirin decreases long-term cancer risk as well as risk of distant metastasis.

Dr. Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer and executive vice president of American Cancer Society, is elated and feels that Rothwell and his team might be onto something exciting.

However, there is need to proceed with caution in spite of evidence indicating that aspirin may be used as a chemopreventive agent. The USPTF recommends use of daily aspirin only if the potential benefits outweigh the risks.

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