Daily dose for five years or more may cut risk of death from gastrointestinal, other cancers

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 (Last Updated: 12/08/2010)

TUESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Daily aspirin over at least five years appears to greatly reduce mortality from gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal cancers, according to research published online Dec. 7 in The Lancet.

Peter M. Rothwell, of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues studied the outcomes of eight randomized trials, including 25,570 patients, of daily aspirin versus no aspirin for four or more years to determine the effect of daily aspirin on mortality from gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal cancers.

Based on 674 cancer-related deaths, the researchers determined that allocation to daily aspirin reduced cancer-related mortality by 21 percent. This benefit was apparent only after five years' follow-up, at which point there was a 54 percent reduction in death from gastrointestinal cancers and a 34 percent reduction in death from all cancers. Based on long-term follow-up of patients after the trials, including 1,634 cancer deaths, the researchers determined that the 20-year risk of cancer death was 20 percent lower in groups previously allocated aspirin than in controls for all solid cancers and 35 percent lower for gastrointestinal cancers.

"Daily aspirin reduced deaths due to several common cancers during and after the trials. Benefit increased with duration of treatment and was consistent across the different study populations. These findings have implications for guidelines on use of aspirin and for understanding of carcinogenesis and its susceptibility to drug intervention," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology

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