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expert reaction to review paper looking at aspirin and cancer

A review, published in Open Biology, looked at aspirin and cancer.


Dr Mangesh Thorat, Deputy Director (Clinical) of the Cancer Prevention Trials Unit at King’s College London, and Honorary Senior Lecturer, Centre for Cancer Prevention, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), said:

“This is a qualitative review combined with authors’ views, many of which I concur with.  However, the paper does not report any new research data.  Several important trials, for example, ADD-Aspirin in breast, colorectal, prostate and gastro-oesophageal cancer patients and CaPP3 trial in individuals with Lynch syndrome are ongoing to investigate Aspirin’s potential in reducing cancer incidence and mortality.  Individuals should continue their participation in such trials.”


Dr Michael Jones, Senior Staff Scientist in Genetics and Epidemiology at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

“This paper does not provide new data, but provides a review of existing evidence linking aspirin and cancer.  The paper reports on some biological reasons why there may be beneficial effects of aspirin on cancer, and on published studies that have looked at occurrence of, and survival after, cancer diagnosis.

“The conclusions the authors reach about the possible beneficial effects of aspirin are generally accepted by health agencies like the US National Cancer Institute.  The authors are aware of the limitations of many of the original research studies, but point out the generally consistent pattern of a beneficial effect, in particular for colorectal cancer and possibly for other cancers too.

“Aspirin has been used for over 100 years by many millions of people for its pain and fever relieving properties, and more recently for heart and blood vessel problems.  With such widespread use, the side-effects and risks of aspirin are well known – for example, gastrointestinal bleeding.  However, there are still questions that need to be answered in relation to cancer – in particular on biological mechanism and the effect in specific types of cancer and different age groups.”



‘Aspirin and cancer: biological mechanisms and clinical outcomes’ by Peter Elwood et al. was published in Open Biology at 00:01 UK time on Wednesday 14 September 2022.

DOI: 10.1098/rsob.22.0124


Declared interests

Dr Mangesh Thorat: “None really, but I am a member of Data Monitoring Committees of trials investigating Aspirin as an intervention – ADD-Aspirin and CaPP3 trials (and COLO-PREVENT trial that will begin recruitment in a few months).”


For all other experts, no reply to our request for DOIs was received.

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