A daily low-dose of aspirin could reduce the risk of cancer death, according to a new report released by the American Cancer Society (ACS). The report may lead to more physicians recommending aspirin as a cancer prevention tool.
Current clinical guidelines for aspirin only consider its cardiovascular benefits — and only if the benefits outweigh the harm, such as bleeding.
The review highlights recently published studies that found evidence that daily low dose (75-100mg) aspirin might reduce not only the incidence of cancer, but overall cancer mortality.
“The accumulating data from randomized clinical trials provide an exciting opportunity to reconsider the potential role of aspirin in cancer prevention,” wrote co-author Michael J. Thun, MD, vice president emeritus of epidemiology and surveillance research for the American Cancer Society, who led the review that examined published research investigating aspirin therapy for cancer prevention.
Researchers focused on six significant daily low-dose aspirin trials, and found a reduction in cancer incidence of 20 percent over a three to five year time frame and a 30 percent reduction over five years. Additionally, aspirin reduced death from cancer after five years.
In one recently published study, Oxford University researchers found that daily consumption of low dose of aspirin can lead to a significant reduction in risks of certain types of cancer, cancer metastasis and cancer mortality.
Among regular aspirin users, the University of Oxford study found:
• 38% reduction in colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers
• 75% reduction in esophageal cancer
• 35 to 40% less cancer metastasis
• 15% decreased cancer mortality
While the ACA’s review may bring medical professionals one step closer to recommending aspirin as a cancer preventative, such a use has not yet been approved by the FDA. There are still several outstanding questions, such as the magnitude of the overall cancer benefit and which individual cancers are effected.
“However, these new data bring us considerably closer to the time when cancer prevention can be integrated into the clinical guidelines for prophylactic treatment following regulatory review by the FDA and the European Medicines Agency,” said the study authors.
The American Cancer Society’s report is published online in the journal Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology.