Aspirin may lower risk of lung cancer
NEW YORK - Reuters
Among women who had never smoked, the odds were 50 percent lower for aspirin users versus non-users.Women who take aspirin at least a couple of times a week have a much lower risk of developing lung cancer, whether or not they smoke, according to a study of more than a thousand Asian women.
The findings, published in the journal Lung Cancer, linked regularly taking aspirin to a risk reduction of 50 percent or more, although researchers cautioned that they did not prove aspirin directly protects against lung cancer.
The study included 398 Chinese women diagnosed with lung cancer and 814 cancer-free women, and Lim’s team found that women who had used aspirin regularly, at least twice a week for a month or longer, were less likely to have lung cancer.
Among women who had never smoked, the odds were 50 percent lower for aspirin users versus non-users. Among smokers, aspirin use was tied to a 62 percent lower risk of lung cancer. There was a fairly large relative difference in cancer risk between aspirin users and non-users in the study, but the absolute reduction in any one person’s risk, if there is one, might be small.
There are biological reasons that aspirin might offer protection against cancer. It blocks an enzyme called cyclooxygenase-2, or COX-2, which promotes inflammation and cell division, and is found in high levels in tumors. But Andrew Chan at Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the study, said that the evidence on aspirin and lung cancer has been “mixed.”
“The number one thing a person can do to minimize the risk of lung cancer is to not smoke,” he said.
There is stronger evidence that aspirin may be protective against colon cancer, according to Chan, a gastroenterologist.