Taking acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) after diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC) may improve CRC-related survival, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1

In this registry-based study, researchers enrolled 23,162 Norwegian patients diagnosed with CRC between 2004 and 2011, of which 6102 (26.3%) took aspirin post-diagnosis. “Exposure to aspirin” was defined as receipt of aspirin prescriptions for more than 6 months post-diagnosis.

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After a median of 3 years, researchers found that there were only 1158 (19%) CRC-specific deaths in the aspirin-taking cohort. Of the 17,060 patients not exposed to aspirin, there were 5375 (31.5%) CRC-specific deaths. Multivariable Cox-proportional hazard analyses led the researchers to conclude that aspirin exposure is associated with improved CRC-specific survival (hazard ratio 0.85, 95% CI, 0.79-0.92), and with overall survival (hazard ratio 0.95, 95% CI, 0.90-1.01).

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Despite the small sample size of patients exposed to aspirin, in contrast to those not exposed, it was concluded that aspirin exposure is associated with improved CRC-specific survival, as well as with overall survival.


  1. Bains SJ, Mahic M, Myklebust TA, Småstuen MC, Yaqub S, Dørum LM, et al. Aspirin as secondary prevention in patients with colorectal cancer: an unselected population-based study [published online ahead of print May 31, 2016]. J Clin Oncol. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2015.65.3519.