A study published in JAMA Network Open found that aspirin use improved survival in patients with breast cancer. “These results may indicate that for some cancer types, any aspirin use may be advantageous,” the researchers commented on the findings.
Researchers conducted a post-hoc analysis of data from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. The current cohort study included 139,896 patients (mean age at baseline, 66.4 years; 88.5% were non-Hispanic white) aged 65 years or older at baseline (1993-2001) or who reached 65 years during follow-up. Data were analyzed between January 2020 and June 2020. Via questionnaire, researchers assessed the association of aspirin use with risk of developing new cancers and site-specific cancer-associated survival in bladder, breast, esophageal, gastric, pancreatic, and uterine cancers.
During the study period, 32,580 incident cancers occurred, 4,552 (14%) of which were breast cancer, and 333 of these cases (7.3%) resulted in death. Aspirin use was not associated with incidence of any of the investigated cancer types among this patient population.
Multivariable regression analysis showed that aspirin use at least three times per week was associated with increased survival among patients with bladder (hazard ratio [HR], 0.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.51-0.88) and breast (HR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.59-0.96) cancers compared with those who reported aspirin use less than three times per week. A similar association of any aspirin use was observed with bladder (HR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.58-0.98) and breast (HR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.63-0.99) cancers compared with no reported aspirin use. There was no observed survival improvement with any or three times per week aspirin use for those with esophageal, gastric, pancreatic, or uterine cancers.
“Although prior research has been most heavily concentrated in gastrointestinal cancers, our analysis extends the advantages associated with aspirin use to other cancers, such as bladder and breast cancers,” the researchers concluded. “However, although aspirin use may confer a cancer protective effect, it remains necessary to consider the harms, as well as the benefits, of long-term aspirin use.”