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Journal Scan
Oncology

Aspirin may accelerate the progression of cancer in older adults

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In older adults with late stages of cancer, taking aspirin may accelerate the progression of cancer, warranting caution when used in this patient population, according to a study.

In this study, 19,114 patients older than 70 years of age without cardiovascular disease, dementia, or physical disability were randomized to receive aspirin or placebo. Cancer occurred in 981 patients in the aspirin group and 952 patients in the placebo groups, with no statistically significant difference for all cancer incidents, hematological cancer, or all solid cancers between the groups.

Aspirin use was associated with an increased risk of metastasized cancer, cancer that was stage 4 at diagnosis, and with higher risk of death for cancers that were diagnosed at stages 3.

“These findings suggest that in older persons, aspirin may accelerate the progression of cancer and thus, suggest caution with its use in this age group,” the authors concluded.

Reference
McNeil JJ, Gibbs P, Orchard SG, et al. Effect of aspirin on cancer incidence and mortality in older adults. JNCI. 2020;djaa114, https://doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa114

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