MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Søren Friis, Senior Scientist, Associate Professor, MD
Danish Cancer Society Research Center
Danish Cancer Society
Department of Public Health
University of Copenhagen
Faculty of Health Institute of Clinical Medicine
Department of Clinical Epidemiology
Aarhus University Denmark
Medical Research: What is the background for this study?
Dr. Friis: Although laboratory, clinical, and epidemiological studies have all provided strong evidence for protection against colorectal cancer from regular use of aspirin, the optimal dose and duration of use for cancer prevention remain to be established.
Medical Research: What are the main findings?
Dr. Friis: Continuous use of low-dose aspirin for five or more years was associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, but overall long-term use (continuous or non-continuous) was not. Long-term, high-intensity use (average of ≥0.3 daily doses) of non-aspirin NSAIDs was associated with a substantially reduced risk of colorectal cancer, particularly for NSAIDs with the highest COX-2 selectivity.
The results for long-term continuous users of low-dose aspirin should be interpreted cautiously, since these patients comprised only a small proportion of the low-dose aspirin users and might have a risk profile different from that of the general population.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Friis: Our results indicate that unless low-dose aspirin is taken continuously, there is little protection against colorectal cancer. Our findings for non-aspirin NSAIDs indicate a substantial protective effect against colorectal cancer from consistent long-term use of these agents, and there was some indication that even non-continuous use of non-aspirin NSAIDs may be effective for the prevention of colorectal cancer. However, the use of non-aspirin NSAIDs as cancer preventive agents is hampered by their association with cardiovascular adverse events.
Self-medication with aspirin or non-aspirin NSAIDs is strongly discouraged, due to the possibility of serious adverse events. The public should not take any medication regularly without consulting with a physician.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Friis: Additional research is needed to determine the optimal dose and duration of aspirin use for prevention of colorectal and other cancers, with due consideration of potential harms (gastrointestinal, cerebral) as well as other beneficial (cardiovascular) effects.
The cancer preventive potential of non-aspirin NSAIDs should be explored further, if naproxen or other non-aspirin NSAIDs prove not to be associated with cardiovascular adverse events.
Søren Friis, Anders H. Riis, Rune Erichsen, John A. Baron, Henrik T. Sørensen. Low-Dose Aspirin or Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug Use and Colorectal Cancer Risk. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2015; DOI:10.7326/M15-0039
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Søren Friis, Senior Scientist, Associate Professor, MD (2015). Only Regular Use of Low Dose Aspirin Offers Colon Cancer Protection