Other highlights in the February 18 issue of JNCI

Two Studies Examine Aspirin for Cancer Prevention

Two studies in the February 18 issue of JNCI address the association between aspirin use and the risk of two different types of cancer.

In one study, Ellen T. Chang, Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues examined the association between various pain relievers and the risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma. In a case-control study, participants were asked to report their average use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and of acetaminophen over the previous 5 years. They found that the risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma was lower with regular aspirin use (2 or more tablets per week) than with non-regular aspirin use, and that there was no association between risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma and use of other non-aspirin NSAIDs, but the risk was higher with regular acetaminophen use.

"If aspirin use is indeed found to protect against Hodgkin's lymphoma, this relationship could afford insight into the pathogenesis of the disease and offer possible clues toward its prevention," the authors write.

In a second study, Chin Hur, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues examined the cost-effectiveness of aspirin as a chemoprevention strategy for esophageal cancer in patients with Barrett's esophagus. Patients with Barrett's esophagus are at an increased risk for esophageal cancer and, as such, often undergo periodic endoscopic screening. Aspirin use has been associated with a reduced risk of esophageal cancer, but the use of aspirin can cause bleeding and other harms.

Using a model analysis to compare the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of aspirin for the chemoprevention of esophageal cancer in patients with Barrett's esophagus, Hur and colleagues found that aspirin therapy with or without endoscopic surveillance was both more effective (in terms of quality-adjusted life years) and cost less than no therapy or just endoscopic

Contact: Katherine Arnold
Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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