NSAID and acetaminophen use did not, however, have any noticeable impact on pancreatic cancer risk, the authors added.
Dr. Michael Choti, a professor of surgery and oncology with the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, expressed little surprise with the findings.
"There have been other preclinical findings suggesting that there may be some role for aspirin in inhibiting carcinogenesis, including pancreatic carcinogenesis," Choti noted. "And in other cancers, such as colon cancer, aspirin use has been associated with a reduction in cancer risk."
However, "studies that are not randomized trials are fraught with biases," he cautioned. "Those taking aspirin for a variety of reasons, say for cardiac or other cancer-protective effects, may generally have a better lifestyle, smoke less, eat better, exercise more. So one cannot purely conclude from this kind of study as to whether they are finding a general association between people who take aspirin, or in fact a true causative effect," Choti pointed out.
"But it's very interesting," he added. "And certainly the cost and risk of aspirin use is quite low. And this is compelling evidence to suggest there is some benefit, and it's perhaps another reason to advocate the use of aspirin."
Because the study was presented at a medical meeting, the findings should be viewed as preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.
For more on pancreatic cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.
-- Alan Mozes
SOURCES: American Association for Cancer Research, news release, April 4, 2011; Michael Choti, M.D., professor, surgery and
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