A recent study found that long-term aspirin use before a diagnosis of colorectal cancer may be associated with lower colorectal cancer–specific mortality. The report, published by Figueiredo et al in JNCI: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggests that the findings for prediagnosis aspirin use might help reduce colorectal cancer mortality in the overall population by limiting metastatic spread of colorectal tumors before diagnosis.
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The study, led by Peter T. Campbell, PhD, of the American Cancer Society, used data from men and women enrolled in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-II (CPS-II) Nutrition Cohort who were cancer-free at the baseline (year 1992/1993) and diagnosed with colorectal cancer during follow-up through 2015. Mortality outcomes were complete through to the end of 2016. Information on aspirin and nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use was self-reported on questionnaires at baseline, in 1997, and every 2 years thereafter.
Long-term regular use of aspirin—defined as 15 or more times per month—before diagnosis of colorectal cancer was associated with lower colorectal cancer–specific mortality; regular use of aspirin postdiagnosis was not statistically significantly associated with the risk of colorectal cancer–specific mortality overall. However, those individuals who began to use aspirin after their diagnosis were at lower risk for colorectal cancer–specific mortality than those who did not use aspirin at all. In addition, long-term prediagnosis aspirin use was associated with a lower risk of distant metastases.
“These findings are important because colorectal cancer patients seek guidance on lifestyle factors to improve their prognosis,” said Dr. Campbell. “While more evidence is needed, preferably from randomized, controlled trials, findings from this study are an important resource to inform clinicians and colorectal cancer survivors about the potential benefits and harms of aspirin and nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use.”
Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit academic.oup.com.
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