SAN FRANCISCORoutine use of aspirin provides a modest reduction in the
recurrence of large bowel adenomas, according to the results of a randomized,
double-blind, placebo-controlled study presented by the Polyp Prevention Study
Group. Paradoxically, the group found that an 80 mg daily dose, the equivalent
of one baby aspirin, was much more effective in preventing polyps than was the
325 mg daily dose, the amount contained in a typical adult aspirin.
John A. Baron, MD, professor of medicine, Dartmouth Medical School,
presented the findings at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Association
for Cancer Research (abstract 3319).
"It is clear that aspirin will not be, at least alone, a magic bullet.
No one can take a daily aspirin and then expect to forget about everything elsenot
see a physician, not be screened," Dr. Baron said. "Aspirin use will
have to be integrated into the routine care of patients under the advice of a
The study was performed by researchers at nine centers in the United States
and Canada. Study subjects had at least one histologically documented adenoma
removed within 3 months of study entry and had no remaining polyps on
Patients who already were routinely taking aspirin were excluded, as were
individuals with known polyposis or hereditary cancer. The majority were male
(63.5%) and white (85.5%), and 15% were smokers.
All of the patients took 325 mg aspirin daily for 3 months to identity
individuals for aspirin sensitivity and noncompliance. The 1,121 remaining
subjects were then randomly assigned to placebo (n = 372), 80 mg aspirin (n =
377), or 325 mg aspirin (n = 372).
"These two doses were tested because they reflect amounts often used
for heart disease prevention, and we wanted to be consistent in our study to
avoid the possibility of conflicting recommendations for these two health
issues at a future date," Dr. Baron said.