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.[1]

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.


[1] Chan AT, Ogino S, Fuchs CS, et al. Aspirin use and survival after diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2009; 302: 649-658.

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