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Low-dose aspirin ‘reduces risk of colorectal cancer’

By Nigel Praities

Even low-dose aspirin treatment is associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer, say Scottish researchers.

Previous research has suggested that aspirin and other NSAIDs at full therpauetic doses can reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer.

This prospective study followed 2,300 patients with colorectal cancer presenting for surgery and nearly 3,000 matched controls and recorded their NSAID intake as well as the dose.

They found there was a 30% lower risk of colorectal cancer in users of any NSAID compared with non-users – confirming the previous studies. But they also showed for the first time that this relationship was significant long-term with doses of aspirin that are commonly taken to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Patients taking a daily dose of aspirin 75mg had a 22% reduced risk of colorectal cancer. A modest effect was recorded after one year of use, and this increased after five years.

Lead author Ms Farhat Din, a clinician scientist at the University of Edinburgh, concluded: ‘The key findings of our study are that high aspirin doses are not required for protection against colorectal cancer and that, while protection increases with duration of use, there are effects apparent within five years.

Gut 2010; published online 16 September 2010