October 1, 2018 – Cancer Risk


Anchor lead: A large study using aspirin in healthy older people increased their risk of cancer, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Healthy elderly people given daily aspirin in a study known by the acronym ASPREE didn’t have fewer cardiovascular events, but they did have higher death rates than those not taking the drug, including an increased risk for cancer. Erin Michos, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Michos: What was the surprise in ASPREE was actually these was deaths from bleeding but there were actually more cancer deaths in the aspirin arm. The reason why that was really surprising is that previous data has suggested that aspirin has a benefit in colorectal cancer so the fact that cancer was more elevated is surprising and might need further confirmation. But I think the overall message from this is it should be really alarming, that we shouldn’t be using aspirin so broadly in primary prevention.   :27

Michos credits the many strategies now in place to reduce cardiovascular disease risk with rendering aspirin obsolete in this role, such as blood pressure control and statin use. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.