American Association for Cancer Research

AACR Press Releases

Aspirin May Lower the Risk of Pancreatic Cancer


April 4, 2011

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• Benefit was seen with aspirin, but not non-aspirin NSAIDs.
• Effect was also present in people who took low-dose aspirin for heart disease prevention.
• Patients should consult doctors before taking aspirin as a preventive agent.

ORLANDO, Fla. — The use of aspirin at least once per month is associated with a significant decrease in pancreatic cancer risk, according to results of a large case-control study presented at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011, held here April 2-6.

Xiang-Lin Tan, Ph.D., M.D., a research fellow at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said the findings from this large collaborative study are preliminary and do not encourage widespread use of aspirin for this purpose.

“The results are not meant to suggest everyone should start taking aspirin once monthly to reduce their risk of pancreatic cancer,” said Tan. “Individuals should discuss use of aspirin with their physicians because the drug carries some side effects.”

For the current study, Tan and colleagues enrolled 904 patients who had documented pancreatic cancer and compared them with 1,224 healthy patients. All patients were at least 55 years old and reported their use of aspirin, NSAIDs and acetaminophen by questionnaire.

Results showed that people who took aspirin at least one day during a month had a 26 percent decreased risk of pancreatic cancer compared to those who did not take aspirin regularly. The effect was also found for those who took low-dose aspirin for heart disease prevention at 35 percent lower risk, according to Tan.

The researchers did not see a benefit from non-aspirin NSAIDs or acetaminophen. “This provides additional evidence that aspirin may have chemoprevention activity against pancreatic cancer,” said Tan. He added that more data must be gathered before we can prove a real benefit.

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 33,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 18,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. Including Cancer Discovery, the AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. AACR journals represented 20 percent of the market share of total citations in 2009. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists.

Media Contact:
Jeremy Moore
(267) 646-0557
Jeremy.Moore@aacr.org
In Orlando, April 2-6:
(407) 685-4001