Regular low-dose aspirin cuts ovarian cancer risk

February 12, 2014

Patients who take low-dose aspirin daily can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 20%.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute have found that taking low-dose aspirin regularly can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. However, more research is needed before any recommendations are instituted.

The study

Britton Trabert, PhD, of the NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and his colleagues examined data from 12 population-based, case-control studies of ovarian cancer to determine any association between pain relievers-aspirin, nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and acetaminophen. More than 7,700 case patients and almost 12,000 controls were included in the analysis from 1992 to 2007. The results of the study were published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute on Feb. 6.

Approximately 18% of the study participants used aspirin, 24% used nonaspirin NSAIDs, and 16% used acetaminophen. The regular daily aspirin users reduced their risk of ovarian cancer by 20% compared with those individuals who used aspirin less than once a week, the researchers found.

Among nonaspirin NSAID users, those who used them once a week had a 10% lower risk of ovarian cancer than those who used nonaspirin NSAIDs less frequently. This finding, however, was not statistically significant.

The use of acetaminophen was not found to have an effect on ovarian cancer risks, the researchers noted.

Aspirin vs. NSAIDS

“In three studies with dose information, the reduced risk was strongest among users of low dose (<100 mg) aspirin, whereas for nonaspirin NSAIDs, the reduced risk was strongest for high dose (≥500 mg) usage,” the study authors wrote.“These findings suggest that the same aspirin regimen proven to protect against cardiovascular events and several cancers could reduce the risk of ovarian cancer 20% to 34% depending on frequency and dose of use,” they concluded.