Current Oncology Reports

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 533–540 | Cite as

Role of Aspirin in Cancer Prevention

  • Mangesh A. Thorat
  • Jack CuzickEmail author
Cancer Prevention (J Cuzick, Section Editor)


Since its first synthesis in 1897, several medicinal roles and mechanisms of action of aspirin have become apparent; the latest among these being its role in cancer prevention and treatment. A large body of evidence supports aspirin’s effect in reducing cancer incidence and cancer mortality, but duration of use needs to be at least 5 years. The beneficial effects are particularly large for colorectal, oesophageal and gastric cancers, with apparently smaller reductions for breast, prostate and lung cancer. The major harm is gastrointestinal bleeding, but serious sequelae are minimal at ages <70 years. It is very likely that use of prophylactic aspirin in the general population aged 50–70+ years will result in net overall benefit. Outstanding issues are: whether standard dose (~300 mg/day) can lead to greater net benefits than low dose (75–100 mg/day), the optimum duration of use, and appropriate ages for use in average-risk individuals.


Aspirin Prevention Cancer Cardiovascular disease Myocardial infarction Stroke Peptic ulcer Gastrointestinal bleeding Benefit-harm Helicobacter pylori 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Mangesh A. Thorat declares no conflict of interest.

Jack Cuzick is a member of Bayer advisory board.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Cancer Prevention, Wolfson Institute of Preventive MedicineQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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