/publications/issue/2007/2007-08/2007-08-6742

LONG-TERM ASPIRIN USE MAY REDUCE RISK OF SOME CANCERS

Author: Anna D. Garrett, PharmD, BCPS, CPP

Epidemiologic evidence indicates that aspirin use is associated with reduced risks of colon cancer and possibly several other cancers, including prostate and breast cancers. Recent results from the Women?s Health Study randomized trial indicate that long-term use of low-dose aspirin (100 mg every other day) does not substantially reduce cancer risk; however, the potential effect of longterm daily use of higher doses of aspirin on cancer incidence remains uncertain, according to researchers at the American Cancer Society.

A recent publication of results from the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort examined the association between long-term daily use of adultstrength aspirin (=325 mg/day) and both overall cancer incidence and incidence of 10 types of cancer among 69,810 men and 76,303 women. Aspirin use was reported at enrollment between 1992 and 1993 and updated in 1997, 1999, and 2001.

During follow-up through June 2003, 10,931 men and 7196 women  were diagnosed with cancer. Long-term (=5 years) daily use of adult-strength aspirin, compared with no use, was associated with lower overall cancer incidence in men and nonstatistically significant lower overall cancer incidence in women. Long-term daily aspirin use was associated with lower incidence of colorectal and prostate cancer and a nonstatistically significant lower risk of female breast cancer. The investigators concluded that confirmation from randomized trials is necessary before a reduction in cancer risk could be considered a benefit of using adult-strength aspirin.