Clinical Edge

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Aspirin may accelerate cancer progression in older adults

Key clinical point: Aspirin may accelerate the progression of advanced cancers and lead to an earlier death as a result, new data from the ASPREE study suggest.

Major findings: When compared with patients taking placebo, patients taking low-dose aspirin daily had an increased risk of incident cancer that had metastasized (hazard ratio = 1.19) or was stage 4 at diagnosis (HR = 1.22) as well as a higher risk of death for cancers that presented at stage 3 (HR = 2.11) or stage 4 (HR = 1.31).

Study details: Follow-up on a double-blind trial of 19,114 adults age 65 and older, of whom 9,525 were randomized to aspirin and 9,589 were randomized to placebo.

Disclosures: The study was funded by grants from the National Institute on Aging, the National Cancer Institute, the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, Monash University, and the Victorian Cancer Agency. Several investigators disclosed financial relationships with Bayer Pharma.


McNeil J et al. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2020 Aug 11. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djaa114.