Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Does Use of Aspirin Improve Outcomes in Older Patients With Breast Cancer?

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Monday, April 5, 2021

There may be a positive association between aspirin use and survival in patients older than age 65 who have breast or bladder cancer, according to research presented in JAMA Network Open. The cohort study sought to determine the relationship between aspirin use and occurrence rates and survival outcomes in patients with breast, bladder, pancreatic, uterine, gastric, or esophageal cancers.

“Many studies have evaluated the long-term benefits of aspirin use; however, the association of aspirin use with cancer incidence and survival in older individuals remains uncertain,” noted Asad Umar, DVM, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute, and colleagues.

The study included data from 139,896 patients included in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial; all were at least the age of 65 at baseline screening between 1993 and 2001 or reached 65 during follow-up. Roughly half of the participants were women (51.4%), and most were non-Hispanic White (88.5%). A total of 32,580 incident cancers were noted, including breast (14.0%), bladder (5.4%), pancreatic (2.7%), uterine (2.2%), gastric (1.2%), and esophageal (1.0%). No correlation was noted between aspirin use and incidence rate for any of these cancers.

Multivariable regression analysis revealed an association between thrice-weekly aspirin use and improved survival among patients with breast cancer (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.75; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.59–0.96) or bladder cancer (HR = 0.67; 95% CI = 0.51–0.88) but not among patients with other investigated cancers. Patients with breast or bladder cancer who underwent any degree of aspirin use experienced a similar association (HR = 0.79; 95% CI = 0.63–0.99 and HR = 0.75; 95% CI = 0.58–0.98, respectively).

“Although aspirin use may confer a cancer-protective effect, it remains necessary to consider the harms, as well as the benefits, of long-term aspirin use,” the authors cautioned.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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