According to a new study, taking aspirin daily may cut one's odds of developing the polyps that can lead to colorectal cancer.
Multiple lines of evidence, including data from randomized clinical trials, suggest that regular aspirin use is associated with a statistically significant reduction in the development of colorectal adenomas, which are precursor lesions to colorectal cancer, in individuals at high risk of developing colorectal cancer.
For the current study, Bernard F. Cole, Ph.D., of the University of Vermont in Burlington, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of all available randomized clinical trials that examined adenoma formation in participants assigned to regular aspirin use or placebo.
Among 2,698 participants who underwent colonoscopic follow-up after randomization, 37 percent of the participants assigned to placebo developed adenomas compared with 33 percent of those assigned to aspirin.
Moreover, 12 percent of the participants assigned to placebo developed advanced adenomas compared with 9 percent of the participants assigned to aspirin.
The pooled analysis indicated that regular aspirin use resulted in an absolute risk reduction of 6.7 percent for developing adenomas relative to placebo.
"The substantial size of the relative reduction in risk seen in our analysis (28 percent for advanced adenomas) and seen in clinical trials that evaluated the effect of aspirin on colorectal cancer risk (26 percent reduction) indicates the potentially important health benefits of aspirin use," the authors said.
"Of course, these benefits need to be considered in the context of all of the health effects of aspirin, positive and negative," they added.