SAN FRANCISCO – Men who regularly take aspirin may have a reduced risk of dying from prostate cancer, according to a study that will be presented this week at the 2016 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.1
“It is premature to recommend aspirin for prevention of lethal prostate cancer, but men with prostate cancer who may already benefit from aspirin’s cardiovascular effects could have one more reason to consider regular aspirin use,” said lead study author Christopher Brian Allard, MD, Urologic Oncology Fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from 22 071 men enrolled in the Physicians’ Health Study. Of those, 3193 were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 403 men developed lethal prostate cancer over a follow-up of 27 years.
Results showed that among men with prostate cancer, those who regularly took aspirin after diagnosis had a 39% lower risk of prostate cancer-related death, while there was no benefit from aspirin taken before diagnosis.
In addition, the study demonstrated that men without prostate cancer who regularly took aspirin had a 24% reduced risk for developing lethal prostate cancer; however, researchers found no effect from regular aspirin use on the incidence of total prostate cancer, high-grade prostate cancer, or locally advanced prostate cancer.
Of note, it is not clear what dose of aspirin the men in this study took.
“When discussing potential benefits of aspirin with their doctors, in terms of both cardiovascular health and risk of prostate cancer death, men should also consider potential risks of regular aspirin use,” Dr Allard said.
“This study suggests there may be yet 1 more benefit of aspirin, beyond those we’ve already seen in colorectal cancer and heart disease,” said Sumanta Pal, MD, ASCO spokesperson. “While taking aspirin does carry certain side effects that patients should discuss with their physician, it’s intriguing that this low-cost medicine may lower the risk of death from prostate cancer.”
- Allard CB, Downer MK, Preston MA. Regular aspirin use and the risk of lethal prostate cancer in the Physicians’ Health Study. J Clin Oncol. 2016;34:(suppl 2s; abstr 306).