Low-dose aspirin was found to be associated with a lower risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), according to the results of a study published in the International Journal of Cancer. No such association was seen for regular or extra-strength aspirin, other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or statins.1

The large case-control study examined whether NSAIDs or statin drugs have a protective or synergistic effect against NHL. Self-reported use of NSAIDs and statins was evaluated in 1702 patients with NHL and 2199 frequency-matched controls.

The mean age in each cohort was approximately 61 years. Regular or extra-strength aspirin use was reported in 16.6% of patients with NHL and in 16.0% of patients in the control group. There was no association with risk for NHL after adjustment for age, sex, residence, education of time in the Mayo Clinic system.

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However, low-dose aspirin use, which was reported in 28.5% of patients with NHL and 34.9% of controls, was found to be associated with a decreased risk of NHL. There was a stronger association for longer duration of use. The researchers noted that after adjustment for family history of NHL, body mass index, smoking, alcohol use, and history of rheumatoid arthritis, the inverse association “attenuated slightly.”

The strongest association between lymphoma risk and use of low-dose aspirin was seen for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and all other subtypes, followed by follicular lymphoma and marginal zone lymphoma.

“Our study supports the concept that regular use of aspirin at a dose that is able to inhibit platelet activity but does little to suppress inflammation reduces the likelihood of developing NHL, while use of higher dose aspirin, other NSAIDs or statins does not,” the researchers wrote. “Larger multi-institutional studies would be helpful to confirm this finding, along with mechanistic studies of low-dose aspirin in the context of lymphomagenesis.”


Liebow M, Larson MC, Thompson CA, et al. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, statins and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Int J Cancer. Published online February 28, 2021. doi:10.1002/ijc.33541