Women with type 2 diabetes who are taking low-dose aspirin had a lower occurrence of breast cancer than those not taking aspirin, according to research recently published in the Journal of Women’s Health.
“Low-dose aspirin is commonly used for preventing [CVD] in people with diabetes, but its association with cancer remains controversial,” Yi-Sun Yang, MD, PhD, School of Medicine, Chung Shan Medical University, Taiwan, and colleagues wrote. “Prospective studies have yielded mixed results; aspirin has been reported to have no association with, reduce the risk of, and increase the risk of breast cancer. Most of these studies have focused on the general population, and no study [has] focused exclusively on diabetes. Diabetes is equivalent to CVD, and the prescription rate for aspirin in the secondary prevention of CVD is [approximately] 90%.”
Researchers recruited 148,739 patients with diabetes in Taiwan; then, after an age-matched comparison, 24,101 aspirin users and 24,101 aspirin nonusers were retained for the 14-year study. The aspirin dose among these women ranged from 75 mg to 165 mg per day, and the mean age of the participants was 63.3 years.
Yang and colleagues found that risk for breast cancer was lower in aspirin users (HR = 0.77; 95% CI, 0.68–0.89) in an unadjusted model. After researchers adjusted for age, Charlson comorbidity index, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, the risk for breast cancer was still found to be lower in aspirin users. Only a cumulative aspirin dose of greater than 88,900 mg for a mean period of 8.5 years (less than 30 mg/day) was found to reduce the risk of breast cancer (HR = 0.53; 95% CI, 0.43–0.67). Researchers also noted that incidence of breast cancer seemed to reduce after 1 year of aspirin use, with a continued divergence of the cumulative curves throughout the follow-up period.
“In addition to its familiar role in the prevention of CVD, aspirin appears to be a promising candidate for preventing cancer, particularly in patients with diabetes,” Yang and colleagues wrote. “This study is the first to discuss whether aspirin reduces the risk of breast cancer in patients with diabetes, a critical topic to address because patients with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of cancers, including breast cancer, and cancer mortality.”
Other recent research has suggested low-dose aspirin also reduces the risk for several cancers, including prostate and lung cancer. In addition, in April 2016, the USPSTF recommended low-dose aspirin for the primary prevention of several diseases, including colorectal cancer.– by Janel Miller
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.