Regular aspirin use after a colorectal cancer diagnosis may reduce the risk of dying from the disease, especially among tumors that overexpress the COX-2 enzyme, according to the results of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Previous studies have shown that regular aspirin use reduces the risk of developing colon cancer, but this study evaluated the effects of aspirin after a colorectal cancer diagnosis. The study involved a prospective cohort of 1,279 men and women diagnosed with Stages I –III colorectal cancer.
After a median follow-up of almost 12 years, the death rate was 35% among aspirin users and 39% among non-aspirin users. The cancer-specific death rate was 15% for aspirin users and 19% for non-aspirin users. In patients whose primary tumor over-expressed COX-2, regular aspirin use was associated with a 61% reduction in the cancer-specific death rate.
The researchers concluded that regular aspirin use after a colorectal cancer diagnosis is associated with a lower risk of cancer-specific and overall mortality, especially in patients with tumors that over-express the COX-2 enzyme.