MAR 16, 2020 10:11 AM PDT

Aspirin associated with reduced risk of liver cancer

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine from scientists collaborating from the Karolinska Institutet, in Sweden, and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reports that low-doses of aspirin can reduce the risk of liver cancer for high-risk adults.

"Rates of liver cancer and of mortality from liver disease are rising at an alarming pace in U.S. and European countries. Despite this, there remain no established treatments to prevent the development of liver cancer, or to reduce the risk of liver-related death," said lead author Tracey Simon, MD, MPH, investigator in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at MGH.

In conducting their research, Simon and fellow investigators analyzed data from 50,275 adults with chronic viral hepatitis. They obtained the data from Swedish registries that followed the health of these patients over eight years. Chronic viral hepatitis is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B or C virus; it is the most common risk factor for liver cancer

They found that for those patients taking low dosages of aspirin (defined as less than 163 mg/day), the risk of liver cancer decreased. In fact, patients taking aspirin had a 31% lower relative risk of developing liver cancer compared to patients who did not take aspirin.

This benefit of low-dose aspirin also proved to be correlated to time; the longer a patient took aspirin, the greater the reduction of risk of liver cancer. For instance, those using aspirin for 1-3 years saw a 10% drop in risk for developing liver cancer when compared to those taking aspirin short-term (3-12 months). That risk reduces to 34% for 3-5 years of aspirin use and 43% for five-plus years.

"This is the first large-scale, nationwide study to demonstrate that the use of aspirin is associated with a significantly reduced long-term risk of liver cancer and liver-related mortality," said senior author Jonas F. Ludvigsson, MD, Ph.D., of the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institutet.

Photo: Pixabay

The researchers even noted that liver-related deaths were lower for aspirin users compared to nonusers. Aspirin users saw liver-related deaths in 11% of the population, while nonusers saw 17.9%; that is equivalent to a 27% lower risk of death due to liver-related medical problems, just because of taking low-dose aspirin!

In their study, the scientists controlled for sex, the severity of hepatitis, and the type of hepatitis virus (B or C) and still saw similar benefits. They say that the next step will be to conduct randomized controlled trials.

Sources: New England Journal of Medicine, Eureka Alert

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
AUG 19, 2020
Immunology
Cancer Mutation Improves Chemo Drug Performance
AUG 19, 2020
Cancer Mutation Improves Chemo Drug Performance
When it comes to cancer biomarkers, it’s often the genetic signatures that are associated with poor patient outcom ...
AUG 26, 2020
Cancer
NAP-6: A Potential Candidate for the Treatment of Breast Cancer
AUG 26, 2020
NAP-6: A Potential Candidate for the Treatment of Breast Cancer
The body is an amazing and complex system of pathways, all working together in harmony. However, cancer can quickly disr ...
AUG 31, 2020
Cancer
Targeting Your Inner Hedgehog to Fight Chemoresistance in Colorectal Cancer
AUG 31, 2020
Targeting Your Inner Hedgehog to Fight Chemoresistance in Colorectal Cancer
Chemoresistance is a serious problem for many cancer therapies. Solutions to this problem are harder to come by than the ...
SEP 06, 2020
Cancer
Focal HIFU ablation improves prostate cancer patients' quality of life
SEP 06, 2020
Focal HIFU ablation improves prostate cancer patients' quality of life
Research published in The Journal of Urology offers an alternative to invasive prostate cancer treatments like surg ...
SEP 16, 2020
Cancer
Does Discontinuation of Immunotherapy Effect Final Results in Metastatic Melanoma?
SEP 16, 2020
Does Discontinuation of Immunotherapy Effect Final Results in Metastatic Melanoma?
The last decade has seen the emergence of several new therapies against cancer. For melanoma, checkpoint inhibitors have ...
SEP 22, 2020
Cardiology
Investigating the Mechanism Behind 5-Fluorouracil's Cardiotoxicity
SEP 22, 2020
Investigating the Mechanism Behind 5-Fluorouracil's Cardiotoxicity
Cancer therapies have come quite far, with several options available for many cancers. An issue that has plagued many of ...
Loading Comments...