Long-Term Aspirin Use Tied to Lower Colorectal Cancer Risk — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
March 4, 2016

Long-Term Aspirin Use Tied to Lower Colorectal Cancer Risk

By Kelly Young

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

Regular use of aspirin is associated with reduced risk for developing colorectal cancer, finds a JAMA Oncology study. (In 2015, the USPSTF issued draft guidance recommending regular aspirin use for chemoprevention in certain patients.)

Researchers assessed aspirin use among 88,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study and 48,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Over 32 years' follow-up, taking aspirin at least twice weekly was associated with reduced risk for cancer overall (relative risk, 0.97), gastrointestinal tract cancer (RR, 0.85), and colorectal cancer (RR, 0.81). Aspirin had to be used for at least 6 years to achieve reduced cancer risk.

The authors estimate that 33 colorectal cancers per 100,000 person-years could be averted with regular aspirin use in patients who didn't have a lower endoscopy and 18 per 100,000 in patients who did have endoscopy.

Commentators write: "This finding is important because it suggests that aspirin use may complement CRC screening and may have an absolute benefit regardless of endoscopy status, a critical insight that few other studies have provided thus far."

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