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Regular Use of Aspirin Linked to Reduced Risk for Pancreatic Cancer — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
June 27, 2014

Regular Use of Aspirin Linked to Reduced Risk for Pancreatic Cancer

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH, and William E. Chavey, MD, MS

Daily use of aspirin is associated with a significant reduction in the risk for pancreatic cancer, according to a case-control study in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Some 360 patients newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer were matched by age and sex to roughly 700 controls. All participants were interviewed about their use of aspirin.

Participants who'd ever used aspirin regularly (usually daily) had a significantly lower pancreatic cancer risk relative to those who'd never used aspirin regularly (odds ratio, 0.52). In particular, each year of low-dose aspirin use was associated with a significant decrease in risk (OR, 0.94).

The authors speculate that aspirin might reduce risk by inhibiting the expression of cyclooxygenase-2, which has been shown to be upregulated in pancreatic cancer precursor lesions. However, they point out several study limitations and note the "appreciable bleeding complications" with aspirin that "necessitate risk-benefit analysis for individual applications."

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