Aspirin in the chemoprevention of colorectal neoplasia: An overview

Andrew T. Chan*, Nadir Arber, John Burn, Whay Kuang Chia, Peter Elwood, Mark A. Hull, Richard F. Logan, Peter M. Rothwell, Karsten Schrör, John A. Baron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Considerable evidence supports the effectiveness of aspirin for chemoprevention of colorectal cancer (CRC) in addition to its well-established benefits in the prevention of vascular disease. Epidemiologic studies have consistently observed an inverse association between aspirin use and risk of CRC. A recent pooled analysis of a long-term posttrial follow-up of nearly 14,000 patients from four randomized, cardiovascular disease prevention trials showed that daily aspirin treatment for about five years was associated with a 34% reduction in 20-year CRC mortality. A separate metaanalysis of nearly 3,000 patients with a history of colorectal adenoma or cancer in four randomized adenoma prevention trials showed that aspirin reduced the occurrence of advanced adenomas by 28% and any adenoma by 17%. Aspirin has also been shown to be beneficial in a clinical trial of patients with Lynch syndrome, a hereditary CRC syndrome; in those treated with aspirin for at least two years, there was a 50% or more reduction in the risk of CRC commencing five years after randomization and after aspirin had been discontinued. A few observational studies have shown an increase in survival among patients with CRC who use aspirin. Taken together, these findings strengthen the case for consideration of long-term aspirin use in CRC prevention. Despite these compelling data, there is a lack of consensus about the balance of risks and benefits associated with longterm aspirin use, particularly in low-risk populations. The optimal dose to use for cancer prevention and the precise mechanism underlying aspirin's anticancer effect require further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-178
Number of pages15
JournalCancer Prevention Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


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