Daily Aspirin Reduces Cancer Risk

NYT:

Taking aspirin every day may significantly reduce the risk of many cancers and prevent tumors from spreading, according to two new studies published on Tuesday. […]

The studies, led by Dr. Peter M. Rothwell, a professor of clinical neurology at the University of Oxford, were published in the medical journal The Lancet. A third paper by Dr. Rothwell and his colleagues, published in The Lancet Oncology, compared the findings of observational studies and randomized trials of aspirin.

There is an urgent need for clinical trials of treatment regimens incorporating aspirin, Dr. Rothwell said.

“What really jumps out at you in terms of prevention is the striking 75 percent reduction in esophageal cancer and a 40 to 50 percent reduction in colorectal cancer, which is the most common cancer right now,” Dr. Rothwell said. “In terms of prevention, anyone with a family history would be sensible to take aspirin,” he added.

The fact that aspirin does this makes mechanistic sense, since inflammation is a cause of cancer and aspirin is anti-inflammatory.

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bgc says March 21, 2012

I dismissed media reports of this – but I had not realized the idea came from Peter Rothwell. I had some interaction with him about a decade ago and I was impressed.

Maybe this is worth a second look.

Aspirin used to be used a *lot* more in the UK than it is now – it stopped being given to children about 30 plus years ago and was replaced with ibuprofen.

If aspirin prevents cancer (and the treatment for esophageal and colorectal cancer hasn’t significantly improved) this should have led to an increase in cancer incidence, and probably mortality (age adjusted)

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