The Effect of Combined Aspirin and Clopidogrel Treatment on Cancer Incidence

Avi Leader, Ravit Zelikson-Saporta, David Pereg, Galia Spectre, Uri Rozovski, Pia Raanani, Doron Hermoni, Michael Lishner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Background Multiple studies have shown an association between aspirin treatment and a reduction in newly diagnosed cancer. Conversely, there are conflicting clinical and laboratory data on the effect of combined clopidogrel and aspirin therapy on cancer incidence, including analyses suggesting an increased cancer risk. No large-scale cohort study has been performed to address this issue in a heterogeneous real-world scenario. We investigated the effect of clopidogrel and aspirin on cancer incidence compared with aspirin alone and no antiplatelet therapy. Methods A population-based historical cohort study of subjects aged ≥50 years covered by Clalit Health Services, an Israeli health maintenance organization, was performed. Patients treated with the newer antiplatelet drugs, prasugrel or ticagrelor, which, like clopidogrel, inhibit adenosine diphosphate receptors, and those with prior cancer were excluded. Prescription records of antiplatelet medication were retrieved. Results The cohort included 183,912 subjects diagnosed with 21,974 cancer cases based upon the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision. Dual aspirin and clopidogrel was prescribed in 9.6%, while 49% received aspirin alone and 41% used neither. Compared with nonusers, there was a lower risk of cancer in subjects exposed to aspirin with (hazard ratio [HR] 0.46; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.44-0.49) or without clopidogrel (HR 0.54; 95% CI, 0.52-0.56), on long-term follow-up. Combined treatment was associated with a lower cancer risk than the aspirin-only group (HR 0.92; 95% CI, 0.86-0.97). Conclusions Dual clopidogrel and aspirin treatment is safe regarding the cancer risk. This study generates the hypothesis that clopidogrel may reduce cancer incidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)826-832
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Antiplatelet
  • Aspirin
  • Cancer
  • Clopidogrel


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