A new study presented at the 2015 European Cancer Congress in Vienna, Austria suggests that aspirin may double the chances of survival for people with gastrointestinal (GI) cancers.
For the study, a total of 13,715 patients received a GI cancer diagnosis between 1998 and 2011. Researchers followed up with each patient for an average of 48.6 months. Of these patients, 42.8% had colon cancer, 10.2% had esophageal cancer, and 25.4% had rectal cancer.
To determine how consuming aspirin after being diagnosed with GI cancer impacted the survival of the patients, researchers linked patient data with drug dispensing data from the Netherlands PHARMO Institute. The team discovered that about 30.5% of patients used aspirin before the GI diagnosis, 8.3% used it after the diagnosis, and 61.1% didn’t use aspirin at all.
When comparing patients who used aspirin before their diagnosis and those who did not use aspirin, those who used aspirin after their diagnosis were twice as likely to survive according to study results. These findings remained the same even after accounting for factors such as age, sex, cancer stage, cancer treatment, and other medical conditions.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Martine Frouws of Leiden University Medical Centre, concludes: “Medical research is focusing more and more on personalized medicine, but many personalized treatments are expensive and only useful in small populations. We believe that our research shows quite the opposite — it demonstrates the considerable benefit of a cheap, well-established and easily obtainable drug in a larger group of patients, while still targeting the treatment to a specific individual.”
Sources for Today’s Article:
Whiteman, H., “Aspirin may double survival for cancer patients,” Medical News Today web site, September 29, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/300204.php.
Frouws, M., et al., “Aspirin and gastro intestinal malignancies; improved survival not only in colorectal cancer?” presented at the 2015 European Cancer Congress in Vienna, Austria, September 28, 2015.