Aspirin use may increase pancreatic cancer risk

December 31, 2000

PHOENIX - The many health benefits of regular aspirin use have been well-documented, and include the prevention of certain cancers, heart attacks and strokes, as well as dementia, Alzheimer's disease and cataracts. But a new study advises women that aspirin may not always be helpful. According to research presented today at the American Association for Cancer Research Second Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, extended regular use of aspirin may be associated with a significantly increased risk of pancreatic cancer among women.

Researchers examined the relationship between aspirin use and the development of pancreatic cancer among the participants in the Nurses' Health Study. Among the 88,378 women who were initially cancer-free, 161 cases of pancreatic cancer were documented during 18 years of follow up. Aspirin use was first assessed at baseline in 1980, and updated biennially thereafter. Participants were classified according to a history of aspirin use.

A long duration of regular aspirin use (two or more tablets per week) was associated with a significant increase in pancreatic cancer risk; women who reported 20 or more years of regular aspirin use experienced a 58 percent increased risk (a relative risk of 1.58). The relative risk (RR) is the risk of developing the disease in the treated group compared to the risk in the control group.

Among women who reported aspirin use on at least two of three consecutive biennial questionnaires (compared to consistent non-users), the risk of developing pancreatic cancer was increased by nearly 86 percent for women taking 14 or more tablets per week (RR 1.86). The risk was increased by 41 percent for those taking six to 13 tablets per week (RR 1.41), 29 percent for those taking four to six per week (RR 1.29), and 11 percent for those taking one to three per week (RR 1.11). The results suggest that extended aspirin use may be associated with significantly increased pancreatic cancer risk among women.

"These findings, if confirmed, add another variable to the complex risk-benefit profile of aspirin," said Eva Schernhammer, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard University Medical School, and lead investigator of the study.

"Women need to discuss their situation with their doctor before making any decisions on their own about the use of aspirin," she added. The Nurses' Health Study, initiated in 1976 at Brigham and Women's Hospital, is the longest-running major women's health study ever undertaken. Study findings have resulted in hundreds of journal articles, many containing groundbreaking research on how to prevent some of the major causes of disease and death in women.

In vitro experiments and limited animal studies have suggested that aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) may inhibit pancreatic cancer; but few studies have examined the association between aspirin use and pancreatic cancer in humans and these results have been inconsistent.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2003, about 30,700 people in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and about 30,000 will die of the disease. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of death from cancer. About two out of 10 patients live at least one year after the cancer is found, but very few survive for five years.
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research is a professional society of more than 21,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical scientists engaged in cancer research in the United States and in more than 60 other countries. AACR's mission is to accelerate the prevention and cure of cancer through research, education, communication, and advocacy. Its principal activities include the publication of five major peer-reviewed scientific journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. AACR's annual meetings - next year in Orlando, Fla., March 27-31 - attract more than 15,000 participants who share new and significant discoveries in the cancer field. Specialty meetings like this one, held throughout the year, focus on the latest developments in all areas of cancer research.

American Association for Cancer Research

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to