The British Journal of Cancer has published the results of an observational prospective cohort study that aimed to assess between use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and three types of stomach cancer. This story was reported in the wider media (BBC).
Data were collected for 311,115 individuals on self-reported use of aspirin and other NSAIDs and incidence of gastric non-cardia, gastric cardia and oesophageal adenocarcinomas. Aspirin (HR 0.64, 95% CI 0.47–0.86) or other NSAIDs (0.68, 0.51–0.92) was associated with a significantly lower risk of gastric non-cardia adenocarcinoma. There was no association with the other cancers studied.
The authors note that aspirin significantly increases the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and haemorrhagic stroke and that these potential cancer benefits do not outweigh these risks. The recommend that further research should be conducted in a randomised controlled trial setting to confirm and quantify these findings.
Action: Clinicians should be aware of this study in light of the significant media coverage. NSAIDs cannot currently be recommended to prevent cancer because the benefits do not appear to outweigh the risks.
Thanks to Kevin Ashworth for spotting this article
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