The objective of this meta-analysis was to systematically assess the survival benefit of aspirin use before or after diagnosis for patients with colorectal cancer (CRC).
Relevant studies were identified through searching PubMed, Embase and Cochrane databases before May 2014. Two investigators extracted data independently for baseline characteristics and outcomes from the included studies. Either a fixed-effects or a random-effects model was derived to composite the pooled HR for overall mortality and CRC-specific mortality of CRC.
Seven studies on postdiagnosis aspirin therapy and seven studies on prediagnosis aspirin use were finally included in this meta-analysis. The overall survival benefit associated with postdiagnosis aspirin use represented an HR of 0.84 (95% CI 0.75 to 0.94). This effect was observed both in colon cancer (HR=0.78, 95% CI 0.64 to 0.96) and in rectal cancer (HR=0.90, 95% CI 0.83 to 0.98). Besides, the survival benefit of postdiagnosis aspirin use appeared to be confined to those patients with positive prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase 2 (PTGS2, also known as cyclooxygenase-2, COX-2) expression (HR=0.65, 95% CI 0.50 to 0.85) and with mutated PIK3CA tumours (HR=0.58, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.90). Aspirin use postdiagnosis was not associated with CRC-specific mortality (HR=0.77, 95% CI 0.52 to 1.14). We observed no evidence of an association between prediagnosis aspirin use and CRC overall mortality (HR=1.01, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.06) or CRC-specific mortality (HR=0.93, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.05).
These findings provide further indication that postdiagnosis aspirin therapy improved CRC overall survival, especially for patients with positive PTGS2 (COX-2) expression and mutated PIK3CA tumours.