Aspirin vs. Cancer
Exciting research conducted in the UK and published in the 2011 issue of Lancet shows that taking high doses of aspirin can reduce the occurrence of cancer in people at risk for developing colorectal cancer, fueling the aspirin vs. cancer information tank. The study showed that taking aspirin resulted in a 60 percent decrease in people with Lynch syndrome, the major hereditary form of colon cancer. People with this defective gene usually develop cancer in their forties and 15 percent of all cases of colorectal cancer are from people with this gene.
Earlier work has shown that aspirin consumers have reduced colorectal cancer and reduced risk of adenomas. Even previous work had shown some reduction for lng But could aspirin prevent colorectal cancer? That is the question these researchers wanted to answer.
Lynch syndrome impairs the ability of the cells to repair mismatched pair DNA strands, thus causing mutations that would normally have got corrected through the natural corrective process of the body. Lynch syndrome is not only connected with colorectal cancer, but also other forms of cancer such as endometrial, ovarian, stomach, intestinal, liver, gall bladder, bile duct, bladder, brain and skin cancer.
Patients in the study took 600 mg of aspirin a day for two years and showed a better than average reduction in developing cancer.
At first the study was published and the results did not show a correlation between aspirin and a reduction in instance of the cancer, confirming earlier studies of slight in fany impact on cancer. However, a follow up study did find a slight reduction in instance of cancer, but the results did not show a statistical significance. Finally, the researchers looked at patients that took the aspirin for two years and there was a 60 percent drop in instance of colorectal cancer after 55-57 months. In addition these patients showed a 55 percent drop in instances of other cancers.
Does Aspirin Prevent Cancer?
Although no one knows why aspirin works as a way to prevent cancer, there is an obvious effect, and research is now bound to continue. This may be one more step in treating cancer without the horrible side effects associated with chemotherapy.
In a meta-analysis of twelve previously published cohort studies, researchers from Guangdong, China looked at the impact of aspirin from the perspective of dose, frequency of use and long term duration of use.
From a dose perspective, it was shown that aspirin shows a 20% statistically significant lowered risk of colorectal cancer for using a dose of 325 mg per day. Using aspirin 7 times a week resulted in an 18% decreased risk, while extending use by 10 years resulted in an 18% decreased risk of colorectal cancer.
These results show that there is a conclusive correlation between aspirin therapy and the reduced risk of colorectal cancer.
Research must continue to find out the best dosage and period of use. The side effects of taking aspirin over extended periods of time must not be neglected either. Since it is already known that large doses of aspirin can cause a variety of side effects, the key is going to be finding the minimum dose with the lowest amount of side effects.
This article does not endorse patients taking their treatment into their own hands. If you have cancer and are reading this article, please consult your physician before you consider adding aspirin to your treatment protocol.
1. CAPP2 Investigators. Long-Term Effect of Aspirin on Cancer Risk in Carriers of Hereditary Colorectal Cancer: An Analysis from the CAPP2 Randomised Controlled Trial. Lancet 2011, 378: 2081-7.
2. Journal of the American Medical Association, July 6, 2005 (see the journal abstract).
3. Ye, X.; Fu, J.; Yang, Y.; Chen, S. Dose-Risk and Duration-Risk Relationships Between Aspirin and Colorectal Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Published Cohort Studies. PLoS One 2013, 8:e57578.