Aspirin and NSAID Use Timing Linked to Colorectal Cancer Tumor Markers and Survival

August 2017

In this study, Dr Hua and associates looked at the relationship between using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, and survival in people who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC).

We found that the use of NSAIDs was associated with improved survival, but only in people whose tumors had a specific type of genetic alteration (KRAS wild-type). We also found that the benefits of using NSAIDs were more pronounced in people who initiated aspirin use after their cancer diagnosis and in those who used it for a longer period of time. The benefits were not seen in people who used other types of NSAIDs or in those with different types of genetic alterations.

These findings are in line with previous research, but our study is one of the few to look at non-aspirin NSAID use after a cancer diagnosis. This study’s results suggest that using these medications after a cancer diagnosis may have a positive effect on overall survival, but we did not see any significant improvement in disease-specific survival. It’s possible that the benefits of using NSAIDs could depend on the pattern of use, with aspirin use being more beneficial when used over a longer period of time and at lower doses.

The study also found that the benefits of NSAID use were limited to people without a family history of cancer and to those with BRAF-mutant CRC tumors. However, these findings should be viewed with caution due to the limited sample size in certain subgroups.

There are some limitations to this study, including the fact that it relied on self-reported NSAID use, which may not be entirely accurate. The study also only included long-term survivors of CRC, so the results may not apply to people who do not survive as long after their diagnosis. Additionally, the study population was mostly white, so greater diversity is needed in future studies to better understand the relationship between NSAID use and survival in other populations.

Despite these limitations, this study has many strengths. The sample was obtained from cancer registries and is representative of white populations of long-term CRC survivors. The long follow-up time allowed Dr Hua and associates to explore not only overall survival, but also disease-specific survival and cardiovascular disease outcomes. Additionally, our study is one of the few to look at the relationship between NSAID use and survival in people with colorectal cancer.

To read the study in full click here.