SAN FRANCISCORoutine use of aspirin(Drug information on 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 physician."
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 colonoscopy. 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.