The authors explain that NSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) have been known to have a preventive role with regards to colorectal cancer, and in particular, aspirin. Recently, some studies and experts have suggested that regular aspirin may have a therapeutic role too. However, studies so far have not been conclusive.
Dr Gerrit-Jan Liefers and team set out to determine what the therapeutic effect of aspirin/NSAIDs as adjuvant treatment might be on colorectal cancer patients after diagnosis. They carried out an observational population-based study.
They gathered prescription data from the PHARMA linkage systems, focusing on patients who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer (1998-2007). They selected people from the Eindhoven Cancer Registry, a population-based cancer registry.
Patients were classified into:
- Pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis - aspirin/NSAID users
- Pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis - non-aspirin/NSAID users
- Just post-diagnosis - aspirin/NSAID users
- Just post-diagnosis - non-aspirin/NSAID users
- 26% (1,1176) of them were non-aspirin/NSAID users
- 47% (2,086) of them were pre- and post-diagnosis aspirin/NSAID users
- 27% (1,219) of them were just post-diagnosis aspirin/NSAID users
The authors concluded in an Abstract in the same journal:
"Aspirin use initiated or continued after diagnosis of colon cancer is associated with a lower risk of overall mortality. These findings strongly support initiation of a placebo-controlled trial that investigates the role of aspirin as adjuvant treatment in colon cancer patients."
This news comes a month after The Lancet published the results of three studies suggesting that a low dose of aspirin may help reduce cancer risk.
Written by Christian Nordqvist