Aspirin, NSAIDs May Decrease Colorectal Cancer Risk

Consistently using low-dose aspirin and non-aspirin non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could successfully diminish the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) – the third most common cancer in the US.

Consistently using low-dose aspirin and non-aspirin non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could successfully diminish the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) — the third most common cancer in the US.

A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine included data for a total of 10,280 adults suffering from first-time CRC and 102,800 individuals in the control group.

It is important to note that the researchers had not measured lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and weight for this study.

The study reported people regularly taking 70-150mg of aspirin for 5 years or longer noticed an approximately 27% reduced risk for CRC. Those administered NSAIDs (targeting specific enzymes) saw a 30-45% decreased risk for CRC.

Søren Friis, MD, Senior Scientist, Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, commented, “It is important to evaluate the association between aspirin or other NSAIDs in the general population, as well as within selected study populations of high-risk individuals with colorectal cancer, including persons with familial/hereditary disposition, previous history of colorectal adenomas or cancer or obesity, while balancing the chemo-preventive effects against the potential harms.”

The study authors understand further research is necessary to determine the ideal use of aspirin for preventing cancer. The researchers especially need to discern which patients would benefit the most.

According to Friis, “We have plans to examine the influence of lifestyle factors and obesity on the effect of aspirin/ NSAIDs against colorectal and prostate cancer using a prescription registry for diet, cancer, and death.”

The prescription registry would provide practitioners with more direct and secure access to prescription histories advantageous in allowing physicians to combine prescription data with information regarding over-the-counter uses for high-dose aspirins.