Previous studies suggested a relationship between aspirin use and mortality reduction. The mechanism for the effect of aspirin on cancer outcomes remains unclear. The aim of this study was to evaluate aspirin use and survival in patients with gastrointestinal tract cancer.
Patients with gastrointestinal tract cancer diagnosed between 1998 and 2011 were included. The population-based Eindhoven Cancer Registry was linked to drug-dispensing data from the PHARMO Database Network. The association between aspirin use after diagnosis and overall survival was analysed using Cox regression models.
In total, 13 715 patients were diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer. A total of 1008 patients were identified as aspirin users, and 8278 patients were identified as nonusers. The adjusted hazard ratio for aspirin users vs nonusers was 0.52 (95% CI 0.44-0.63). A significant association between aspirin use and survival was observed for patients with oesophageal, hepatobiliary and colorectal cancer.
Post-diagnosis use of aspirin in patients with gastrointestinal tract malignancies is associated with increased survival in cancers with different sites of origin and biology. This adds weight to the hypothesis that the anti-cancer effects of aspirin are not tumour-site specific and may be modulated through the tumour micro-environment.