Aspirin could cut risk of death in cancer patients by 20%, study suggests
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 02/07/2021
Cancer patients who take aspirin as part of their treatment could cut their risk of death by 20%, according to a major review of studies.
Researchers at Cardiff University said the medication – commonly used as pain relief – not only has “biological mechanisms” that help reduce mortality risk, but they also found it to reduce the spread of cancer within the body.
They said “serious consideration” could be given to using aspirin alongside other therapies to treat cancer, based on a body of evidence on its efficacy and safety.
As part of the study, the team reviewed 118 earlier published studies, which included 250,000 patients with 18 different cancers.
They also considered the risks of aspirin-taking and wrote to the authors of the papers, asking about any stomach or other bleeding episodes.
A small number of patients had experienced a bleed, but there was no evidence of any excess deaths attributable to bleeding in the patients on aspirin, the review found.
Lead author, Professor Peter Elwood, honorary professor at Cardiff University who has studied the effects of aspirin for more than 50 years, said: “Overall, we found that at any time after a diagnosis of cancer, about 20% more of the patients who took aspirin were alive, compared with patients not taking aspirin.”
He added: “Our research suggests that not only does aspirin help to cut risk of death, but it has also been shown to reduce the spread of cancer within the body – so-called metastatic spread.
“There is now a considerable body of evidence to suggest a significant reduction in mortality in patients with cancer who take aspirin – and that benefit appears to not be restricted to one or a few cancers.
“Aspirin therefore appears to deserve serious consideration as an adjuvant treatment of cancer and patients with cancer and their carers should be informed of the available evidence.
“However, we must also stress that aspirin is not a possible alternative to any other treatment.”
He said: “Further research into aspirin and cancer would clearly be of great value, and new studies should be encouraged, especially if focused on some of the less common cancers.”
The team’s findings have been published in the open-access journal eCancermedicalscience.
Commenting on the research, Dr Mangesh Thorat, deputy director (clinical) of the Cancer Prevention Trials Unit at King’s College London, who was not involved in the study, said: “The results of this review provide impetus for cancer patients to consider participation in these trials and for the scientific community to consider developing trials in cancers that are not already being investigated.
“Until results from major trials become available, cancer patients should not rush to take aspirin, but should certainly discuss trial participation with their treating clinicians.”
© Sky News 2020