Findings from a review of published studies suggest that use of aspirin and similar drugs may help prevent stomach cancer.
As reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Benjamin Chun-Yu Wong, from the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues analyzed data from nine studies that looked at the link between NSAID use and stomach cancer. Collectively, the studies included 2831 patients with stomach cancer.
Overall, NSAID use was tied to a 22-percent reduction in the risk of stomach cancer. The risk reduction seen with aspirin use was nearly identical to that of other NSAIDs, the researchers note.
On further analysis, the researcher found that NSAID use only seemed to reduce the risk of cancers located in certain areas–not all stomach cancers.
So how might aspirin and other NSAIDs protect against stomach cancer?
In a study reported earlier this year, Wong’s team found that aspirin inhibits the growth of a microbe that is strongly linked to stomach cancer. Alternatively, NSAIDs may promote the death of cells that have just turned cancerous.
To really know if NSAIDS prevent stomach cancer, a trial would have to be done in which subjects are randomly selected to receive these drugs or an inactive “placebo”, the authors note.
SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute